Exam questions that ask you to anlayse case studies (also called scenarios) are usually designed to test your ability to relate theories and concepts to real-world situations. Scenario questions often require a longer answer, so they will be allocated more time and more marks. Generally there is no ONE right answer, but there are concepts that the lecturer will be expecting you to apply.
Preparing for the exam
Identify the theories and concepts covered in your unit. Organise and review the information you have on these theories/concepts so you understand them.
Practise reading case studies and identifying relevant information. It’s probably useful to do this with a time limit similar to what you’ll have in your exam.
Use flash cards, mind maps and acronyms to learn and rehearse the key concepts, theories, models and protocols.
Try relating concepts and theories to real-world situations: ask lecturers and check textbooks or Canvas for examples. Try finding past exams if possible to see if there are examples of case study questions.
During the exam
Plan your time for each scenario or question. Have a clear idea of time you have for reading the exam question, reading the case study and writing your answer.
Read the exam question(s).
Then skim read the case study to get the general idea. Highlight or underline key points.
Reread the question to make sure you understand it and to focus your attention when you reread the case study. Make sure you know what is being asked of you.
Reread the case study carefully. Make a note of any ideas that you think of.
Answer the question linking relevant theories and concepts to specific information from the case study. Usually you’ll need to write your answers in clearly formed paragraphs which have a clear topic that is well-supported with evidence and examples.
Don’t just describe or restate information from the case itself, use specific details or examples to support the points you are trying to make. This is where you link theory to the facts from the case study.
Knowing how to prepare for exams and implementing strategies for preparation is a big part of managing your study time and getting good grades. Exam time can be a period of stress and anxiety for many students but if you know how to prepare for your exams, apply effective study strategies, and take care of yourself, at least you’ll feel more in control of the situation.