5 Steps to making sure your notes are exam ready
Feeling the heat of those upcoming final exams? Don't sweat it, we've got your back!
We know you've been diligently scribbling away in your notebooks all year, and now it's time to transform those notes into your secret weapons of success.
But before you dive headfirst into the sea of revision, let's make sure your notes are in tip-top shape. You’ve been adding to them for almost a year, so all you need to do now is make sure they’re exam ready!
We’ve put together this handy five-step plan for ensuring your notes are ready for revision.
Cover each syllabus dot point
First, and most importantly: make sure you have every dot point listed in the syllabus covered in your notes.
Remember, the syllabus contains all of the content from the course, and the questions you’ll be asked in your exam are coming straight from this document.
The more you can think about the content in terms of the syllabus dot points, the better position you’ll be in throughout your exams. Structuring your notes around this document will also make it a lot easier to memorise the content.
So, go through the syllabus for each subject and make sure you’ve covered each dot point in your notes. If there are any gaps, go back and fill them in.
Condense your study notes
When it comes to studying for exams, we don’t want to be reading paragraph after paragraph of content. The most useful notes are summaries of the content, so we need to work on condensing them!
Once you’ve written the notes for a topic, pick out the most crucial bits of information and arrange all the content into a really punchy, memorable and useful summary that will actually get you through an exam.
When you’re making these summaries, always ask yourself:
- What will I be using this information for?
- How would I answer a question on this topic?
- How would I use this information to answer a question?"
This way, you can be confident you’ll be left with the content that you need for the exam.
Check your notes make sense to you
Writing notes doesn’t mean rewriting the textbook word-for-word. For your study notes to be useful, it’s most important that they make sense to you!
So, read over your notes from start to finish and highlight any concepts that you don't understand. Rework these sections, so that when it comes to revising you actually know what’s going on.
Revisit past assessments
Sometimes, a concept or topic might require a bit more information. Revisit past exams or assessments and look for any topics that you didn’t do so well in.
This can help you to highlight any areas in your notes that are lacking or need further explanation. From here, you can add additional notes or comments that will really help you in the exam room.
There’s no point in shying away from the difficult stuff—you won’t be able to hide from it in the exam! Face your fears and get on top of it now. If you need a bit of help, reach out to your teacher.
Create memory prompts
One of the most challenging parts of final exams is that they cover all of the content you’ve studied over the year—which is a lot. Any tips or tricks for remembering content or application rules will go a long way.
So, if you have a trick to help memorise a lengthy quote, add it to your notes. If you always forget to give your graphs a title, add a reminder to your notes. Have a mnemonic device (a small acronym or jingle) for remembering the syllabus dot points? You guessed it, add it to your notes!
Remember, it’s not just about remembering the content. We want to be able to apply it too. So make sure your notes are going to help you with that process.