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Lesson Navigation IconOnline Guidelines for Academic Research and Writing

Unit Navigation IconThe academic research process

Unit Navigation IconOrganization and project management

Unit Navigation IconLiterature research and application

Unit Navigation IconWriting an academic paper

Unit Navigation IconHow do I create a good poster?

Unit Navigation IconPresentation skills

Unit Navigation IconLearning techniques and exam preparation

LO Navigation IconIntroduction: «Learning techniques and exam preparation»

LO Navigation IconLearning approaches

LO Navigation IconOrganization when learning

LO Navigation IconAttitude when taking an exam

Unit Navigation IconBibliography

Unit Navigation IconMetadata

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Attitude when taking an exam

Exams are critical situations since you have to present the knowledge gained in a short time at a specific date, in oral or written form. Your condition on that day is important; however, a good preparation can compensate for not being at your best (the reverse is more difficult to achieve).

When taking an exam, the time available for testing students is limited; often it will only be possible to present just a tiny amount of the things learned. Sometimes you may be therefore frustrated: «I have done so much to pass this exam and now they are only asking about one or two details». This may be dissatisfying at that moment; however, exams can only draw samples of the things learned. They will never be able to test the entire spectrum of your knowledge as regards a topic or a seminar, even if students try to cover as much of that spectrum as possible. It is therefore best to prepare for a limited range of topics from the very start.

Written exams

Bachelor and master examinations most of the time consist of several consecutive exams with questions on different subjects. In order to pass these exams, it is necessary to proceed in a structured way. First you should take some time to get an overview while reading each question thoroughly. Which questions are easy to answer, which ones are more difficult? How much time can be spent per question, is there enough time left to review things? It is best to take some notes immediately. Then you should begin with answering those questions that can be dealt with best to get them off your mind. However, it is important not to overrun the time available for each question. You should also avoid skipping a question; it is always better to write something since zero points are difficult to compensate. At the end, there should be some time left to review all the questions and make amendments.

Oral exams

Oral exams offer the possibility to ask your examiner a question in case of doubt; however, there is less time available for answering the questions posed. You can always take short notes before answering examination questions in a more structured way. We recommend «thinking out loud» in order to let examiners follow your train of thought; they can then confirm or correct your thoughts. In case of doubt, it is best to say: «I understand this question in the following way», before continuing with things you know. If you are wrong the examiner will either make corrections or there will be follow-up questions concerning the topic raised.

By completing this course you will have acquired a good basis for scientific work. Knowing the formal requirements you have more time at your disposal to engage with content, to formulate research questions and to actually collect data.

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