Management student insight: How to survive exam week at WBS
22 March 2019
Student bloggers from our range of Management Masters courses talk about their exam preparation and how to survive exam week at WBS.
Lina Seidlitz, MSc Human Resource Management & Employment Relations
Most Masters courses at WBS will have exams as an assessment method – for my course there were two modules that were assessed by one 3-hour long essay based exam (no pressure). Therefore, it’s vital to make sure that you are well prepared.
For me, the first step of any exam preparation is to check the study load well in advance – and when I say well, I really mean as early as you can, so that you know what lies ahead of you. My second step is to make an exam plan allocating time to every topic I am revising. This would usually involve allocating enough time to preparing revision notes and turning all resources into a revisable format, as well as to the actual revision of material. A revision plan really helped me to stay on track - it is so easy to procrastinate, especially when you are home for the Christmas holidays or simply enjoying the lecture free time. Sticking to the plan also helped me to stay focused on the modules’ syllabus. When you study a social science like Human Resource Management, it is always possible to dig deeper as there most likely isn’t such a thing as exhaustive learning. So, I had to make sure I was focusing on revising what I needed to know to do well in the exams.
I am a huge advocate of healthy revision. For me this means eating well and healthily (WBS café always has great healthy options), making sure I get enough sleep, regularly exercising or going for walks (ideally outdoors to get some fresh air – there is so much green space around campus), and taking breaks from revision as this really helps to recharge and avoid information overload. Even if breaks can sometimes feel like ‘wasting time’, it is actually quite the opposite; effective revision is much more about the quality than the quantity.
My secret weapon, especially when it comes to exam revision, is revising the key material before I go to bed. Overnight memory consolidation really facilitates learning – this isn’t something I made up, memory research has actually supported this! When you wake up the next morning, it feels like someone has magically put all this knowledge into your brain. If you haven’t already, try it the next time you are revising.
Good exam preparation will help you to survive the actual exam week. When I am feeling well prepared, I am naturally less stressed when it comes to sitting the actual exam. Of course, for most of us, sitting exams isn’t a particularly pleasant experience, but as long as you trust in yourself and the revision you have done, you should feel less nervous.
Sharon Wandili, MSc Management of Information Systems & Digital Innovation
We took four modules in the autumn term, one of which (Digital Business & Workplace Technologies) had a sit-down exam, with the three requiring individual essay submissions of between 2500 and 3000 words. The total exam revision period we had was about 1.5 weeks after the official end of term, which was enough to prepare for the exam.
You’ll be pleased to know that the exam tests exactly what you cover in the course of the module lectures. Moreover, the group work project we worked on to present to the IBM Studio involved applying theoretical concepts covered, thus making revision a bit easier.
In addition, our professor organised an exam revision session for us where he went through the main topics that would be tested, while giving a summary of what we had learned. He also gave us past examination papers to revise with. Make sure not to miss this session if it is organised for your module! You could also choose to record the session for future reference while studying which I found beneficial.
Other revision materials you could use are lecture notes and pre-reading articles. You could also get a study buddy, from whom you’d get different perspectives of understanding, helping to build on what you already know. Before exam day, don’t forget to double check the exam location and start time. You should also go through the University’s exam regulations to ensure you are not carrying anything you are not supposed to into the exam hall.
Last but not least, the exam is not there to catch you off-guard, remember that what you get out of the module is equally important and the end goal is not just the grade.
Jarryd Seh Kin Chen, MSc Management of Information Systems & Digital Innovation
It’s that time of the year again, examinations! Having to spend the spring holidays studying is no fun ordeal, however by leveraging the right resources and techniques, accompanied by strong work organisation, the examination period need not be dreaded.
Organise, organise and more organisation!
It is always easier to be proactive than reactive when handling situations and this advice works very well for preparing for exams. A comprehensive study schedule should be developed to ensure effective time management. I’d advise covering multiple modules daily rather than focusing on each module individually for a brief period. This allows you to digest each module daily which helps you develop a solid understanding, rather than cramming a whole module a couple of days before the exam! I personally start with a daily to-do list that aligns with my schedule, prioritising my revision by deadline and impact. Additionally, there are various methods of studying. I use the Pomodoro technique which breaks down revision into intervals; 25 minutes of focus, separated by a 5 minute break where I either stretch, get a cup of tea or catch up on social media.
Leveraging your colleagues around you will help reinforce and fill gaps in your understanding. I’d recommend getting your colleagues to learn a specific module topic each and present them to the rest of your study group - this accelerates and improves revision efficiency. I have found this alternative approach to be effective as it provides a platform for each group member to share their current understanding and exchange ideas accordingly.
Be kind to yourself
It is pivotal that you take care of your mental and physical health. Maintain a balanced diet (that includes limiting the energy drinks!) and ensure you partake in some form of downtime activity. This helps with maintaining productivity and prevents burnout. I usually take an hour off to participate in Warwick’s rock up and play events that occur every day throughout the week.