Seven solid suggestions for science exam success

It’s that time of the year again; the weather is slowly getting warmer and the promise of summer creeps ever closer. Life is good. Oh no, wait. You have two assignments and four exams coming up… and don’t forget the presentation worth 40% of your final mark!

Exam season is approaching. It can be the most stressful time of the year for students and it’s easy to believe there is simply no way you can remember everything. Take a breath, stay calm, and check out The Student’s Seven Tips for Science Exam Success. 

1) Map out processes

Be it a chemical reaction or a biological cycle, science is full of processes. Find the links and visualise them. This will draw your focus to the essential facts you need to remember.

2) Find the link between your modules

It took me until final year to begin drawing all of the knowledge I’d accumulated together to create a single picture. Science is so intertwined; there is guaranteed to be links between your courses. Find them. Use them. Not only will it reduce your study time, but if you drop in a few facts from Module A into the exam for Module B, you’ll get extra marks.

3) Use online resources

Sometimes you just can’t understand your lecturer, and that’s ok.

Luckily, science is factual rather than interpretive, meaning there are hundreds of resources online, at your disposal offering, alternative explanations.

Find something that works for you; be it a review on PubMed or a video on Youtube.

4) Study smart

Is your module broken down into five subsections but you only have to answer two questions? Consciously decide where to focus your revision efforts and do it wisely.

5) Explain it to somebody on your course

Science is largely factual. Create a checklist of the key points you need to remember, hand it to a course mate and get them to ask you questions. Verbal recall works much better than visual recall. See what you know and what you don’t; this will allow you to tailor your revision plan as you approach your exam.

6) Make sensible suggestions

If you’re answering an essay question about a research topic make a suggestion as to how it could be further advanced. Can you see a flaw in the current knowledge? Or an area that has not been addressed? Questioning what you’ve learned will demonstrate your ability to think, not just recall.

7) Remember why you love science

Science subjects can be incredibly demanding.

Your inquisitive, experimental side can easily get lost in facts and figures and seemingly mind-boggling theories. Remind yourself why you chose your subject and why you love science; it will give you the motivational boost you need to make it through these final few weeks.

Image credit: Wadi Lissa via unsplash

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