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How to ace your exams, no matter what your timetable looks like

Nightmare exam timetable? These tips have you covered
With exam timetables released this week, we chatted to some students about their tips for managing time, so you’ll be on top of your study no matter what your exam schedule looks like
Female student sitting in front of a laptop and taking notes

If anyone needed another reminder that exams are around the corner, exam timetables have been released for Semester 1.

With schedules ranging from no exams at all to four or more in a single week, it can really seem like a ‘luck of the draw’ kind of situation.

Several students share how they manage their study in the lead-up to exams so they can be as prepared as possible without having to take time away from other commitments.

‘Because I get so involved in the co-curricular stuff on campus, it’s just where I can fit it in, but I find time,’ says Nicholas, who is doing an Arts degree and majoring in Politics and International Relations.

‘I only have one exam, I suppose I’m a rare case, but of course early mornings, late nights, just do as much as you can.’

At the other end of the scale, nursing student Adele has a packed schedule with four exams in a single week.

‘I’m going to space out my study, do a lot of study beforehand but then in the actual week of exams studying bit by bit for each one as they come along.’

With such an intensive week of assessments, Adele is aware that she’ll need to plan accordingly to make sure she’s on top of everything, and will be strategising to ensure her limited time is spent most efficiently.

‘I’m going to look at which ones I need to do better in based on my previous results and how they are weighted,’ she said when explaining how she will prioritise her study.

Getting as much revision done ahead of her week of exams will be key.

‘By that week I should have most of it down, it will just be refreshing my memory and making sure I’m good to go for the actual exams.’

By that week I should have most of it down, it will just be refreshing my memory and making sure I’m good to go for the actual exams.
Adele, Nursing Student

Depending on your course, some of you will have take home exams rather than classic exams, but as Katie, a fifth year Political Economy student can attest, no one should be thinking that take-homes are any different or easier than classic exams.

‘It’s really important that you know what dates they are due and distinguish these from your normal assessments, because they are marked like exams,’ Katie advises.

Katie has multiple take-homes to complete in one week, but she knows how to handle this situation.

‘Prioritise the ones that are due in the shortest amount of time, even though they may not be the ones you enjoy and you might put them off because you don’t want to do them!’ Katie says.

‘I think it’s way less stressful making sure the ones you don’t like are out of the way first so you can invest in the ones you’re passionate about.’

Finally, the stress of study isn’t the only challenge of exam period. If you’ve found yourself with an exam or two at the end of the exam period, it can be hard to accept that all your friends are already finished and celebrating when you still have work to do.

Chloe, an advanced Science student, suggests that trying to maintain a normal work-life balance is the best way around this.

‘Stay on top of it, structure the day like a normal week because if you work well during the day there’s nothing stopping you socialising at night. Work it into your normal uni schedule rather than just letting it go. Avoid all-nighters!’

It’s up to each student to figure out a study schedule that works best for them, but with these tips as guidelines, everyone can find a way to make exams as painless as possible.

Last updated: 3 May 2022

12 May 2021

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