Examination Strategies: Critical Thinking

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Here is my brainstorm of 5 strategies for exam revision

  • Flash cards for definitions and always having them on my phone. This means I can return to them even when waiting for the metro.
  • Drawing concepts. Helps to visualise and perhaps make some concepts and ideas more memorable.
  • Attempting to answer past exam questions
  • Colour coding notes. Associating colours to certain concepts can make them more memorable for me.
  • Trying to recall as much as possible without looking at my notes. Then looking at my notes to see what I have missed.

Many thanks for your thoughts, Michelle - this is a nice post. I’m interested to learn more about what you add to your flashcards, particularly for the IIR/IPT exam?

These are my 5 tips for exam preparation:

1. Making a plan on what to revise when as early as possible.
I always start out with a general brainstorming of things to revise, read, etc. and add to it if I think of more. I assign topics to days of revision and always leave some buffer because some things always take longer than I initially thought.

2. Revising with other people.
This really helps me to stay committed and sometimes they approach topics and questions very differently to me but it helps me gain a new perspective on them.

3. Recording myself revising my notes and then listening to it on a walk.
Although it is also important to take actual breaks, sometimes I cannot sit on my laptop anymore so I go outside and listen to my notes while I walk.

4. Writing dates and names I need to remember on post-its and sticking them to my mirror.
I am passing it several times each day and at some point I can recall them in my sleep.

5. Summarising, summarising, summarising
I normally approach topics by reading as many sources as I can and taking notes, then summarising these notes into one document and then summarising this into the main concepts. This is a lot of effort most of the time but at the end I only need to remember the key terms and the rest comes back because I read it so much while summarising.

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Thanks for posting floflo! I particularly like point 5. I think it’s really important to read about the same/similar concepts in a variety of sources to help with memorisation and understanding, and then doing something like writing short summaries can be an excellent method to further check your comprehension.

Do you have any comments on each other’s posts?

My 5 tips (even though most of them have been mentioned already):

  • Review previous assignments and tests

  • Use active learning techniques (flash cards, making rhymes for memorisation, draw “concept trees”…)

  • Write essays and practice them word by word (seems dumb/unnecessary but helps me to use certain phrases for actual exams)

  • take a closer look on the feedback which you received for past exams

  • the day before the exam don’t stress yourself too much and get a good amount of sleep

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