How to prepare smarter for exams

University student Jessica Puca.
University student Jessica Puca.

STRESS and pressure is beginning to affect thousands of local high school students preparing for Year 12 exams.

Kicking off on November 2, for many students these exams will mean the difference between them getting into the course they want or having to settle for second choice.

It is a pressure University of Notre Dame student Jessica Puca remembers well.

She said she still thought back to how difficult it was to study for final exams at Emmanuel Catholic College in Beeliar, saying she felt “exhausted, unfit and stressed trying to retain as much information as I could, battling against the clock”.

She said her biggest tip for students going through exams was to study smarter.

“Being at university requires initiative and independent study that has helped me identify the way in which I study most efficiently and has helped me develop smarter study skills,” she said. “Looking back, I would tell myself to practise, practise and practise, not to just study theory, but to apply it to a question form that you will get in the exams.

“I would also tell myself to find which mode of study works best for me and use it.

“There is no point rote learning if it does not work for you and personally, I watch videos, I draw pictures and I literally talk to myself in front of a mirror.”

Openly admitting it was pressure to get into a good university or from others to do well that caused the most stress, Miss Puca said it was important for students to understand there were other options available to them to get into the course of their choice.

At Notre Dame university, more than 300 students have chosen to go through their alternative entry pathway, the Foundation Year Program.

Admissions and student services executive director Rommie Masarei said the program was designed to help students prepare for university study over two semesters.

“It’s available for students who are post-school leaving age, whether they didn’t do well in their ATAR or they’ve undergone a non-ATAR pathway or they’ve had personal or education circumstances which meant they haven’t progressed,” she said.

“We get exceptionally good feedback from the students regarding the support and framework of Foundation Year that they’ve become more successful in undergraduate funding and the skills that they are taught they wish they had learnt them before.”

Visit www.nd.edu.au for more information on alternative pathways to the University of Notre Dame.

Jessica Puca’s Top Study Tips

-Relaxation and time out is crucial, have an escape. Spend 30 minutes outside, sneak in an episode of a favourite TV show, go for a coffee or cook something.

-A disciplined study break will help more efficient study and help to maintain an healthy well-being.

-Eat healthy, exercise, stay hydrated and get enough sleep.

-“Try Youtube. It is such a great resource that is often undervalued in education. It can provide an alternative style of teaching, offer new information and is an invaluable visual aid.”