Solo study: How to prepare for online exams from home
Some university students will be asked to take their final exams online after 17 years of formal education. This is on top of an already devastating pandemic which has already affected their mental health.
There are also upsides. Remote exams can be more flexible and more sensitive to individual needs. They also recognize the pressures that students face. These are some of the ways students can adapt their revision to get the most out of online assessment.
Make a revision schedule
The first step is to decide which topics you will cover and what knowledge or learning the exam requires. This can be assisted by tutors, past papers, and sample answers.
After you have your exam schedule, divide it by the number topics. This will create a study plan. Delroy Hall, a senior counsellor and wellbeing practitioner at Sheffield Hallam University, says that it is crucial to incorporate routine into your revision. "Covid-19, the pandemic have now disrupted all that [routine], so it is important to be intentional about how we manage our lives."
Hall also recommends the Pomodoro method: 25 minutes of studying followed by a five minute break. Then, repeat. This technique is useful if you are feeling overwhelmed by revision, or unable to stay focused.
Don't just learn words, but concepts
Review course notes, mark essays, lecture videos, and other important source material. Hall advises that you learn concepts and ideas rather than memorise a lot of text. Open book exams will let you demonstrate that you are able to apply what you have learned, and not just what you can recall. This relieves some pressure, but it can also be distracting to search for sources during a test.
Summary sheets can be used to summarize key ideas, quotes, and analysis. Active revision is a way to better understand and retain information. It also makes it easier for you to locate what you need during exams.
You should aim to start revising early with notes that you can review, rather than learning new material. Hall states, "We have more stress than usual, so we want to do everything in our power to relieve that."
If you haven't finished your task in time, don't panic. Plan, but prioritize topics according to the time you have. Hall's "worry sheets" method can be helpful. You can fold a piece of paper in half and fill one with things that you can control (like meal times and bedtimes) and the other side with things that you can't (when your vaccine will be available). Focus on the things that you can control and let the rest fall into place.
It's a big deal to sit online during a pandemic, whether you are alone or with others. There are ways to reduce anxiety. You can reduce stress by setting up an exam area that is separate from your revision space. For example, you might choose to sit at a desk, or the kitchen table, instead of in bed.
Exam walkthroughs are available online at your university. These walkthroughs show you how the process works, from uploading your answers to logging in. You can download and log in to any software you prefer, then practice using it in advance. If you are worried about losing an internet connection or not being able to download the software, ask your university for a dongle or laptop.
You may also want to do a dry run if 24- or 48-hour exams are unfamiliar to you. This is not about sitting at your desk for hours. A schedule that balances working hard and eating well will make you feel and perform better.
Related article from EuropeanBusinessReview: https://www.europeanbusinessreview.com/the-easy-way-to-get-the-best-online-exam-help/
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How to study solo online: How do you prepare for online tests at home?