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    Hey everyone!

    I am a second year, currently trying to figure out what I did wrong in my first year as an undergraduate (in terms of exam revision). How do you study for science subjects? Do you make notes? Do you learn your notes? Do you write out essay plans? (I am a biology student) How many hours do you usually work a day? What helps you to stay motivated?

    Thanks for all your help.

    What are your three subjects?

    You have to do a lot of things really. If your second-year subjects were like mine, then about 20-30% are yours marks will come from short answer questions/multiple choice questions. This is basically a test of your ability to memorise the lecture handouts and doesn't require any further reading to do well in. I can memorise facts fairly well by just reading from the handout directly, although other people tend to find that making written notes helps to ingrain facts into their long-term memory. As you know, a lot of material is covered in the lectures, so it takes quite a lot of time to get a grip on all of it. It helps if you learn it well as you go along rather than trying to cram everything in Easter term.

    I'd strongly recommend making many essay plans for your revision. Knowing facts is not enough -- you have to be able to join the dots to make a coherent argument. From a tactical perspective, the best thing to do probably is to look through the past exam papers and see which type of questions come up frequently. It might be worthwhile trying to craft "model answers" for those essays that come up particularly often. You'd have to do quite a bit of further reading if you want to get into First class territory, although it can be counter-productive to do too much further reading without knowing the basics first (i.e. don't try to run before you can walk). Writing timed essays is also essential so that you can get a sense of how mcuh you are able to write in the 40-minute time period (and also to correct handwriting problems if you have any).

    Not much specific advice I can give about practical examinations, except to say that they are usually very tricky so you should come prepared for the exam and not neglect them during your revision.Make sure you know your practicals inside-out.

    So yeah, it's basically a balance of them three things: memorising handout, writing essay plans/essays, and revising practicals. How much time you spend on each is up to you really. Obviously, a solid knowledge of the core material will inform your essays, although you would be hard-pushed getting beyond a mid-2.1 using lecture material alone. The optimal number of hours you should spend on revision is different for each person; just make sure you don't burn yourself out before the exams even start. The exam period itself is longer (about two weeks) than it is during first year, so you need to make sure that you start off fresh.

    As for motivation, I tend to think a lot about the class lists posted at Senate House. If you tried hard during the exam period, then you can enjoy the long summer without regrets and without ever having to think "could I have worked harder"?

    Just checked your profile and it seems like you study at Oxford:confused: Oh well, I'm not sure how they do things at the other place although I suppose most of what I said will still apply.
How are you feeling about your exams?

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