The fact that it is exam period is visible in (and under) the eyes of most students on campus. I would say that I spend my time productively in the build up to exams, I do my washing, organise folders, tidy my room, write lists, clean the kitchen and go for walks. I occasionally find the time to revise too but I find it extremely difficult to remain focused, particularly if it involves staring at my screen. I also find the endlessness of the internet off-putting, not just because of innumerable distractions, but also because it makes it feel as though there is an infinite amount of information I need to know. It is possibly for that reason that I have begun to read for the exam I have in 3 weeks time rather than beginning revision for the exam I have in just over 1 week. The first exam seems to require an overwhelming amount of preparation, whereas I know that for the second exam all I can do is listen to the lectures and read a book.
I bought the book. It is the first book I have bought since coming to university (and before you ask, I didn’t buy it from Amazon, I bought it from Hive). I am supposed to have been reading it since January, and since January I have been avoiding parting with the £15 needed to buy it. I found the ebook online immediately, in fact I found it whilst the lecturer was still in the process of telling us the ISBN. Throughout the term I went to seminars with the knowledge that I had it as back up, but it proved to not really be necessary and I never actually ended up reading any more than the first paragraph. I was given a book voucher for an event we talked at and so I finally bought it. I have had the book on my bedside table for 4 days now and have already got through a sizable chunk. It may well be an element of the procrastination regime I seem to have got into for the exam I am supposed to be prioritising, but I think it is more due to the fact that I am far more likely to dip in and out of a book by my bed than a book in the depths of my computer and that requires to be read on a screen. I have penciled in stars next to important bits and I am finding it quite an engaging read. It is actually a reminder that I am fascinated by the course I am studying, International Relations.
To prepare for an exam I usually listen to my lecture recordings, take notes of anything important, read old notes and then find the readings I am suppose to have studied. Different lecturers provide different resources, some don’t record their lectures whereas others may even email transcripts of their lectures. For my first exam I will have to choose 2 essay questions to answer from an unseen list of 12 and I only have 1 hour to answer both. Which, in my opinion, is absurd. In the 30 minutes for each I am expected to write an essay containing facts and opinions from all the readings I will (eventually) do, in order to support my argument. I plan to revise 3 of the 12 possible topics and to only revise the core readings rather than attempt to absorb the entire list of recommended readings on our VLE. There is about 2 core readings per topic, so I will have to study 6 in total. I will then take notes in a similar way to how I described my preparation for an assignment (see blog category ‘Assignments’).