It is about quantity and quality. Whatever size your sketchbooks are make sure you fill them, no gaps, no blank pages. Make sure there's written and visual work on every page.
In my first year we did projects on self portraiture, which ended up with two pencil works, a lino print and a painting as the final pieces. For the pencil work project I had a full A5 sketchbook and two A2 research sheets, one with photos and observation and the other with artist studies. For the lino print I didn't do a sketchbook, I just had reseacrh sheets. Two sheets on artists, 1 on photos and drawings from them and 1 on experimentation. For the painting I had a full A5 sketchbook and two research sheets, one on experimentation and one on artists.
In my second year we did structures as our mock exam and barriers as our actual exam.
For structures I had a full A5 sketchbook, and A2 sheets for observation and photos, artists and experimentation. For barriers I worked mostly in my sketchbook with a couple of larger experimentations and observational drawings.
When you do artist studies, don't do a biography. Infact unless it relates specifically to what and why the artist has created the piece, don't write anything about the artists life. Write about what the artist has done, how they've achieved it and how it makes you feel. Look at how it can be interpretated differently. Write about how it links into your own work, why are you looking at them? Don't just do copies of their work, do some of your own work in their style. Experiment using their media, thier technique, or their subject.
Experimentation in general is good, try new media and new things. Paint on top of straw, learn how to sculpt, stick twigs into your book to look at texture, dribble wax down your page, that sort of thing.
Make sure you document your development in your book. Show how chose what photo to work from and why you chose it, what colours have you decided on, what media are you going to work in and why? This needs to be visual as well as written.
I got 100% overall so this worked for me
Have fun, but also be prepared to put a lot of time in. Putting in time wasn't really an issue for me because I love it but I do practically live in our art block
If you're limited to time constraints go for quality, pushing out tons and tons of work below your ability isn't going to show much. Make sure your work reflects your ability.
sorry about the text wall