How to revise for an essay exam

Seriously, if you think multiple choice or short-answer questions are hard, you should try an essay exam. They are brutal. However, do not fear! I have done many and (somehow) managed to do pretty well in them. So, here are my top 3 tips on how to revise for an essay exam:

1. Don’t revise like you normally do

You can’t just skim over the lecture powerpoint slides and remember key facts. The trick to essay exams is really understanding the content, so you need to scrap your old trusty techniques, first of all.

2. Find your way of understanding

To write an essay, you need a proper understanding of the topic. So, when you’re staring blankly at a lecture slide, do whatever works for you to understand it. Although you can’t use them as references, I totally think it’s okay to do a google search, Wikipedia scan, and even Youtube search to help you understand a concept. Once it’s been explained to you in a way you can actually understand, THEN you go to the stuffy reference list papers.

3. Practice – by hand

Practice writing out full essays that you think might come up. Take note if a lecturer has repeatedly mentioned one topic – it’s pretty likely it’s because it will come up! Writing by hand has been proven to help the information sink in better, so do this instead of typing, even if you can use a computer in your exam. You don’t have to write the perfect essay, just get into the rhythm of writing the essentials within a period of time.

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