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Raven’s Mystical and Magical Exam preparation and writing tips:*


  • Review notes throughout the term; review class notes within an hour after the class, at least once throughout the week, and again just prior to class
  • Make sure notes are clear and concise; any messy or vague notes should be rewritten
  • Keep up with readings – make notes on readings and review these regularly
  • Start studying for the exam the day the class starts by constantly reviewing notes and readings

Studying for the Exam:

  • The best way to not do well on an exam is to wait until two days before and study then. Even if you studied for the entire 48 hours period, your long-term memory cannot be engaged and you will not remember content.
  • It is possible to remember lists and bare frameworks, but content will suffer (major understatement here).
  • Start studying in earnest at least two weeks prior to the exam. Précis all notes, and create short cheat notes on all readings.
  • Practice making up short answer and essay questions and answering them verbally or in writing – all classes will present themes that you will be tested on, so you can get good at guessing what will be tested.
  • Locate a fellow student who consistently does really well and find out their study techniques
  • Find a dedicated study group and study together (In my experience, this has a huge impact on the marks of the study group – they usually do very well). Meet at least three times prior to the exam.
  • Schedule your studying so that you are fully prepared the day before the exam.
  • On exam day, review your notes and cheat notes only once. Do not try to leam anything the morning of the exam.
  • It won’t happen. Better to review your notes, and then take a walk, relax and breathe.

The Dreaded Exam:

  • At the university level, the expectation in the social sciences is that your writing be grammatically sound and cohesive. This includes spelling.
  • Read exam questions carefully and answer every part of the question. Do not underestimate the importance of this tip. You’d be surprised how many students answer only half of a question.
  • Assume that the reader/marker does not know anything about the topic and write as if you are explaining the topic from scratch. The marker can only mark on what is written, and cannot assume that because you made mention of a title or topic or subject in one phrase or sentence, that you know anything about it.
  • Write simply and clearly. Avoid jargon.
  • Take a watch or clock and schedule your time according to the exam expectations.
  • Give more time to the more highly weighted questions (eg. An essay worth 40 should get at least 40 of the exam time).