Before the Test
Throughout the Semester
As with any subject, the first step in preparing for a test involving numerical calculations is to keep on top of the weekly material throughout semester, and to complete all practice examples and workshop activities. If there are any concepts you get stuck on, follow up with your tutor or lecturer for help or, if applicable, enquire at The Learning Centre.
It is a good idea to start making a list of key formulae, definitions and examples as you work through the topic material during the semester. If you are permitted to take notes into the test you can use this list as the basis for your page (or pages) of notes, as described later. Alternatively, you can use it as a guide for what you will need to memorise.
Preparing for the Test
In the lead up to your test revise the weekly material for your unit again, and put together a list of key formulae, definitions and examples from each week if you haven’t already – or if necessary add to the list you have already made.
While ideally you will feel confident about all of the topics covered, don’t feel discouraged if this is not the case – and try not to spend an excessive amount of time on any particular week’s material, as this could mean that you miss out on revising other concepts or on other parts of your preparation. To help avoid this you may like to put together a schedule detailing how long you will spend on each week’s material – and then you can go back to any topics you got stuck on at the end of your revision if you have time.
Click on the link below this slide to go to the “My Study and Other Commitments Schedule”, which you can fill out with your own weekly commitments.
Practice Questions and Past Papers
If your lecturer or tutor does not supply you with practice questions, or if you want to practise more, you can search for past exam papers on the Library website. Follow the link to the Library catalogue, and search for your unit name.
Complete one set of practice questions or one past paper whilst referring to your list of key formulae, definitions and examples. If there is anything you need to look up from elsewhere while you are attempting the practice questions or papers, make sure you add it to your list. Furthermore, when you have finished you may like to highlight, underline or otherwise indicate all the things that you didn’t refer to on your list.
If your test permits notes, keep referring to your list as you work your way through as many sets of practice questions or past papers as are available to you (or as many as you have time to complete). Repeat the process of adding things to the list and/or indicating items that you didn’t refer to as you do so, and then use this list to finalise your page (or pages) of notes. Specifically, include in your notes all the formulae, definitions and examples you found helpful. Make sure that your notes are accurate, neat and organised, and use different colours or highlight sections as necessary.
If your test doesn’t permit notes, try to complete the remainder of your sets of practice questions or past papers without the aid of your list, referring to it (or other resources) only when strictly necessary. Be sure to make a note of anything you do need to look up, and then revisit these items when you have finished the practice questions or past paper. If you are struggling to remember a formula, it may be helpful to go back to the relevant section of your unit material in an attempt to understand why the formula works and how to derive it if you forget it. There are also some great tips for improving memory, which may aid in remembering both formulae and definitions, in the “Ways to Focus and Concentrate” resource.
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