You are new to university life, and everything is exciting but confusing at the same time. The amount of information and resources you receive in your first couple of weeks of classes can be overwhelming. So, where should you even start?
It is crucial during this time to create a system for ourselves to navigate all the workload and not get disoriented. It is beneficial to know what is exam-worthy when we are studying rather than seeing it in hindsight.
Some of you might have noticed that It is one thing to study for acquiring knowledge and another thing to chase for good grades alone. These two motivations do happen simultaneously some of the time. However, sometimes professors can get creative with their examinations to distribute grades based on students’ study skills, making it imperative for students to know what and how to study for different exams.
Get to know your professor:
Our professors are the ones who create all the examination material- their thoughts and ideas will translate into exam questions! This is why it is crucial to know what material they find stress most. In addition, professors have received their degrees and possess experience in the field; so, they will shine a light on what material is crucial for understanding studied concepts and what is “fun facts”.
Usually, your professor would introduce themselves and share their story on the first day- listen closely and take notes because that may help you understand what direction the teaching will take! Things like background, previous experience, workplaces, research topics, and specialization can be helpful. We can narrow down the important material to our professors and key points that they want us to remember by getting to know them. This can give us hints about which topics and to what extent of detail they will appear on the exam. If they do not share much, try to chat with them after class or during their office hours to learn about those things and establish a connection with them (a good connection with a professor is always beneficial for learning).
For example, if you are taking a human resource course and your professor used to work as a recruiter- make sure you study everything about recruitment because the chances are that at least 30% of the exam will be connected to this area, covering it in depth. As another example, if your professor tells you stories connecting their past work experience and the material in class- it will most likely appear on the exam as well.
During some courses, the material studied can feel large and wide, making it hard to know what is important. In addition to that, we might drift off and get stuck on material irrelevant to the course from time to time because as human beings, we cannot study 100 things at once. We need to organize and classify information in our brains by learning the key points. We can get lost in the sea of trifling details if we do not. A helpful thing to ask ourselves is: “what are we studying and why?”.
Another way to find out more about your professor is to search them up on “rate my professor” website if your university is based in Canada, U.S, England, Scotland, or Whales, or an equivalent website in other countries. “Rate my professor” website is a great place to see the reviews and ratings of your professor from previous students and learn the nuances of your professor’s teaching style.
There are distinct teaching styles that professors rely on, based on which you can approximate what will be on your exam and how best to study for it. You can read more about different teaching styles, “Rate my professor” website, and how to evaluate your professor candidates here.
Old Fashioned Way:
Let’s not forget about the tried and true method of knowing what to expect on an exam: asking your professor what topics will come up. Usually, educators share the themes that may appear on their examination with varying degrees of vagueness. We can always ask them for tips on the direction of studying we should take in preparation for an exam.
This can be helpful when we need a higher-level overview of what topics to study.
Textbooks can be a good source of information but don’t neglect taking advantage of learning from your professors who are knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced. They have an abundance of information to share, we just need to put in the work to organize and understand it. Understanding our professors can be the first step.
The skill of detecting main points that are “exam worthy” doesn’t come easily but can be developed with enough practice. You can find some further tips on how to distinguish main points in large a amount of information here.
Hi, I’m Alona! I’m open, compassionate, and love adventures. Welcome to StudyTips, a place where I share knowledge from years of experience, studying, and hard work.
It is possible to do well in school and have fulfilling balanced lives. I learnt it the hard way but hope you won’t have to. Studying more is not always better, the trick is to know how to do it well.
Here you can find tips, concepts, and techniques based on various psychology principles that I wish I knew in my first years of university.