Some university students are being asked by their employers to take their final exams on the internet after more than 17 years of formal education. This is all on top a growing pandemic that has already impacted their mental health.
But there are other upsides. Remote exams offer flexibility, are more considerate of students’ needs, and are more open to student pressures. Here are some ways students may tailor their revision to take advantage of online assessment.
Set up a revision plan
First, determine the topics that will be covered and what level of knowledge or learning is required for the exam. These topics can be covered by tutors. Past papers and sample solutions are also available.
Once you have your exam timetable, you can divide the time by how many topics to create a study calendar. Delroy Hall is a senior counsellor, wellbeing practitioner and consultant at Sheffield Hallam University. He says it’s especially important to integrate routine into your revision. “Covid-19 and pandemics have disrupted every aspect of our routine, so we must be more intentional in how to manage our lives.”
Hall also recommends using the Pomodoro technique: 25 minutes study, followed by a five-minute rest, then continue. This can help you if your revisions are overwhelming or you have trouble staying focused.
Learning concepts is more than just learning words
You can start reviewing course notes and marked essays as well as lecture videos and other source material. Hall suggests that students learn concepts and ideas instead of memorising a lot. Open book exams are designed to let you demonstrate your ability to apply learning rather than what you can remember. Although this is a relief, the task of finding sources can be stressful.
A summary sheet with key ideas and quotes can help you to organize your thoughts. This active revision will help you remember the information you have learned and make it easier to locate the information you need for the exam.
You want to get started with revision as soon as possible. Use existing notes to review and not learn new material. Hall says that there is more stress than normal and that you need to take steps to ease it.
You don’t need to panic if you leave it too late. It’s okay to have a plan. But, prioritize your topics according the time. Hall’s “worry list” technique can help. To help you get the vaccine ready, fold one sheet of paper in half. Concentrate on what you can do and let the rest of the world take care.
You can sit alone online and take exams during a pandemic. It’s okay to be anxious or mad about this. There are many ways to cope with the anxiety. Avoid stress by having an exam room that is not connected to your revision zone.
Make sure you check if your university offers exam walkthroughs online. These demonstrate the entire process, from logging on to uploading responses. It is a good idea to download any recommended software, log into it and then practice using it. You can also ask your university to lend you a laptop or dongle if you’re concerned about losing internet access or being disconnected during the exam.
Try a dry-run of the 24-hour and 48 hour exams if they are new to your mind. It isn’t about being at work for several days. Your performance will improve if you have a balanced schedule that includes working on answers and time for eating, sleeping, and relaxation.
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