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Lesson Navigation IconOnline Guidelines for Academic Research and Writing

Unit Navigation IconThe academic research process

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Unit Navigation IconLearning techniques and exam preparation

LO Navigation IconIntroduction: «Learning techniques and exam preparation»

LO Navigation IconLearning approaches

LO Navigation IconOrganization when learning

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Introduction: «Learning techniques and exam preparation»

When preparing for an exam, many students have all kinds of doubts. On the one hand, you have to deal with a rather overwhelming amount of learning matter; on the other hand, you are uncertain how to learn best.

Generally speaking, there is no universal formula since exam preparations rely on an individual basis. Thinking about processes, strategies, and emotions is as important as your learning content. By monitoring yourself, it will be easy to find out which techniques are useful and where there are still difficulties, doubts, or motivation problems (Steiner 2000: 9). Especially after finishing your exam preparation, it makes sense to review the experience gained in order to modify your technique, if necessary, when preparing for the next exam.


It is worthwhile to invest some time for planning one's learning strategies.

Learning has to be practiced; it can be compared to sporting activities that require constant practice in order to be successful. It also has its ups and downs which has to be accepted and considered in your schedule. You should aim at finding your personal learning method, encompassing all capabilities and preferences. In the best of cases, we recommend searching for a technique that stimulates your curiosity and interest, making the learning process agreeable despite all the pressure. There will always be difficult subjects or single chapters that cannot be embraced wholeheartedly. In this case, it is advisable to focus on the main objective of your preparation (a passed exam or final degree), and realize that sometimes it is necessary to struggle through hard times.


Even learning takes some practice.

Learning can be scheduled. A good time management can help to reduce any fears of not coming to terms with the learning matter. Additionally, it is easier to make plans for recreation, deliberately and with a clear conscience. However, one has to have realistic ideas and plan some extra time as a buffer (illness, etc.) (Steiner 2000: 100). It is also necessary to be able to estimate efficiency, which will be achieved by gaining experience and monitoring oneself.


Monitoring and self-reflection improves your learning style.

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