View Full Version : Study & Exams

8th Oct 2008, 21:07
I've recently started on a very challenging course, a mix of forces and civvy.

I'm enjoying the lectures, and taking the right amount of notes etc. but it seems that as soon as I've stepped out of the lecture room I've forgotten a lot of what we are being taught. The first exams are in December, and I [email protected] myself already.

Any advice for an old soak, who last picked up a text book over 15 years ago?


Jimmy Macintosh
8th Oct 2008, 21:22
It really depends on how much time you have available.
One technique is to re-read your notes when you get home and then condense them onto 4x6 cards. Which you can then use later to refresh your mind.

Apparently if you refresh your mind with the material within 24hours of learning it you can retain upto 80% of the material for the next week, doing it again after a week keeps it there longer etc.

If you don't have that much time a quick reread of your notes when you're home can help as well.

During my final year of my degree, I just got up at 5am, read my notes and condensed them for the next hour. Took a 30 minute break, did it again, hour break then off to lectures. Helped me immensely.

When I got home at the end of the day I could just relax or do project work.

8th Oct 2008, 22:17
My advice wouls be study whenever you have some free time, but don't over do it. If you constantly studt then you will end up losing interest pretty quick and none of it will go into your head. Free time is just as important as study.
With regards to your exams, start revising early. Make a timetable for revision and work your way through the lectures and any other associated reading you will have been given. Revision is a pain in the arse, but the earlier you start the easier it will be come december!
Good luck!:ok:

Saab Dastard
8th Oct 2008, 22:28
Any past papers you can get hold of?

Nothing like sample papers to help revise. Bullet points for each Q from what you've recently covered helps to reinforce the material.


9th Oct 2008, 01:10
Apparently it is helpful to have some fairly steady (but not loud) background noise such as a radio or the TV. Favourite music might also help.

9th Oct 2008, 01:19
No, G-AND-T, I have no idea whatsoever what could be causing your memory problems.

9th Oct 2008, 07:31
Drink lots of beer and eat lots of baked beans. It works for university students, so it might work for you too. :ok:

Seriously though, my own technique was condensing the lecture notes onto Filofax sheets and producing "spider" charts showing the links between ideas. I still have an entire honours degree written down in a filofax somewhere in the loft. Its the summarising that locks things into your brain; probably why schoolteachers are so fond of using the "précis" as a homework assignment.

9th Oct 2008, 08:18
Mind-mapping is a great technique for life and exams. I use it myself and taught it to my kids who use it for essay planning and revision.

Recreate your notes as a mind map and supplement the map from revision books. Focus on the mind map before the exam.

I too am an “old soak” having done an MBA in my 40’s. I found that, by using the above technique, I could “instantly” recreate about 80% of the map from memory and then refer to it to answer the questions. :ok:

Hope that this helps.


9th Oct 2008, 13:05
Dangerous stuff, those mind maps.

During intermediates, I reproduced a 'spider chart' (or 'mind map' as Beagle-eye calls them) and was busy referring to it when old Eagle-eye the invigilator took an interest. I managed to convince him it wasn't an imported crib sheet and that I'd just drawn it, by dashing off another to help with the next question.

He made me attach both of them to the answer sheet. :rolleyes:

9th Oct 2008, 14:11

You have to admit, though, that they work – your ability to “dash off another to help with the next question” is testament to their effectiveness. :ok:


9th Oct 2008, 16:27
The 4 x 6 cards work for me who now has an old brain that does not retain new coursework as of old. Reduce your notes to the tersest possible. A bunch of bullet points. The simplest diagrams. Different colour cards, words highlighted in different colours, big writing, anything to make them individual.
Then carry the cards around everywhere with you and go over them again and again. Cover the cards with your hand and see if you can chant out the bullet points sight unseen. Boring yes. Idiotic yes. But when you come to that question in the exam it is likely that the card will swim into vision in your mind's eye because it is now so familiar. 'Read' the card and you can get down all the vital stuff quickly and easily. 80% there! Lots of time left to dream up a few flourishes!