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Preparing for short answer exam questions

Short answer questions test your recall of information and ability to apply knowledge. This requires an active approach to revision as it’s not enough just to ‘know’ the content. It’s really important to activate your knowledge by practising answers and testing your recall of information.

You can make your exam preparation more effective by setting goals for each revision session and having strategies for the exam itself.

Revision Sessions

• Study in short blocks (no longer than 50 minutes)
• Understand and memorise key terms, theories, concepts, and applications
• Make concept maps to see how theories and concepts relate
• Think about how to apply the theories and concepts to real world scenarios
• Practise any relevant calculations or formula
• Complete all questions from textbooks, online quizzes or tutorials
• Make sure you access all practice questions and past exam papers
• Develop and answer your own set of questions
• Work with a study buddy to test and motivate each other

Exam Strategies

• Carefully check the marks allocated for each question
• Make a quick plan for how long you can spend on each section
• If a question is worth 10% of the marks, then it deserves 10% of exam time
• Plan to have some time at the end to check your answers
Read the instructions carefully and note if you need to use full sentences or paragraphs
• Answer questions you are most confident about first
• Make sure that you are addressing the question and not going off track
• If you run out of time, make sure you at least write something for each remaining question

It can be tempting to keep pushing yourself during revision but if your concentration level starts to slip, it’s much better to take a break and start again when you are more alert.
If you’re keen to learn more about exam prep and different types of assessment at QUT check out our online resources.

And above all, a positive, calm mindset will go a long way to exam success!!