10 tips on exam preparation

written by: Sabine Klug, Dec 18, 2019

The next exam period is rolling around! Everyone is sharing tips such as “Make sure you get enough sleep” or “Start studying early”, but that’s not what we’re about to share with you! In this guide, we provide you some really valuable tips with which you are guaranteed to happily survive the stressful exam period.

1. Planning is everything

In contrast to high school with fixed guidelines, rules and strict deadlines, university is a whole other story with a focus on self-organization. You somehow have to adapt to this new kind of studying without a lot of time to do so. Since it has to be quick, be open to new contact points! The Austrian Students Union (ÖH) offers a broad list of services to help you!
Additionally, you can find other advisory services of your university right on campus, just ask! In short: Inform yourself about the process of the upcoming semester before the new semester starts! This makes planning easier and will help you to be more relaxed through stressful exam times.

2. Networking

Social contacts are important components for successful studies. That means: network as much as you can! Most universities offer tutorials that accompany your courses and allow you to dive deeper into the subject as well as to exchange ideas with colleagues. Once again, the Austrian Students Union (ÖH) will be happy to help you with their numerous offers.

3. The right time management

Create a study plan that allows you to study continuously. When planning your schedule, keep in mind that it is not enough to be physically present at lectures. Preparation and follow-ups are always necessary! Making a plan, especially when you are new to something, should also always include some kind of flexibility. Trial and error is totally okay! If your plan doesn’t work out, change it according to your needs and try again! One thing that is really important: properly assess your workload and don’t overtake yourself!

4. Find your motivation

Unfortunately, there is no insider tip to magically increasing your motivation. Honestly, all study tips are pointless if you’ve lost your motivation along the way. To prevent this from happening, you should think carefully about what keeps you going. While some recharge their batteries with going outside and catching some fresh air, others wouldn’t see this as a reward at all. Therefore, it is important that you find out what your individual means of motivation are – maybe thinking about future goals or the motivation that made you start your studies can help with that!

We have compiled some tips for more motivation at university!

5. Don’t lose yourself, even with time pressure and panic

For this purpose, we have two valuable tips from interesting studies for you:

  • Highlighters don’t actually do anything except color your books in bright colors! Studies have shown that your brain is under-challenged when reading and highlighting. It seems so easy, underlining a few words and you start to absorb all of the information. Well, unfortunately the signals sent by colored markers are simply too weak for your brain to really remember. Start taking your own notes. This simply works better and is also way more efficient.
  • Repeated reading (rereading) does not lead to study success! Once again, the signals you are sending to your brain are simply too weak. It does not recognize that the things you are rereading are important. No matter how beautifully colored they may be. In the end, you will be able to read the text more fluently and easily, but important information won’t be stuck. So instead of rereading try repeating what you have read in your own words. This will have a lot more effect on your brain.

Here are some tips for effective studying!

6. The perfect study environment

It goes without saying that the right environment plays a big role in your study success. Some study locations hide innumerable distractions: the community kitchen, your local pub or coffee houses are not ideal. In order to avoid distractions, keep these three key factors for effective studying in mind: daylight, fresh air and quiet. Most STUWO student residences offer you exactly those concepts: light-flooded rooms with spacious desks and enough space to take a break.

We have an article on the perfect home office!

7. Study breaks

When studying, you should not forget about taking breaks! By taking breaks you will study more effectively without the risk of being completely exhausted by the time the exam comes up. Therefore, leave your desk behind from time to time, take a short walk outside and have a bite to eat. An old latin proverb reads: “plenus venter non studet libenter”, which translates to “a full stomach doesn’t like studying, but neither does an empty stomach”. So, throughout your study time, have several small, nutritious snacks such as fruits, vegetables or nuts. And even though you probably can’t hear it anymore: don’t forget to drink a lot of water!

Here are more tips for effective study breaks!

8. Keep your study materials together

Keep your study plan up to date and always make sure that all of your study materials is complete and correct. And that doesn’t only apply to your notes, you should always have necessary materials to hand: books, pens, paper for example.

9. Music for concentration

Music can be a great tool to improve focus. What’s important is that it has the right tempo, not too fast and not too slow. Taboo is anything that upsets you or songs with lyrics that will distract you from studying. Chill-out and concentration music are well suited (yes, those actually exist).

Here is a playlist for studying!

10. Working together

Group work can often be exhausting. Usually the tasks in group-work are distributed unevenly. The classic study group consists of the following people: Person A who has no idea about anything. Person B who talks and talks and actually contributes nothing. Person C who promises to make a valuable contribution. Person D who only really shows up by the last day and last but not least Person E who plays everyone against everyone.
Therefore, there are only two ways to use a study group to your advantage:

  • You choose the members of your study group very carefully.
  • Or you are person A and acquire the knowledge of your fellow students as quickly as possible.

No need to dispair: Here are tips for successful online group assignments!

With this in mind, we wish you good luck for your upcoming exams!

Do you have any questions?

We are happy to help!