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UoB BDS

STUDY AND EXAM SKILLS


If you miss information in a lecture, get it straight away from the lecturer or other students Check for supporting materials on Blackboard Develop a study timetable and stick to it use your white time effectively Dont lose heart if you receive lower marks than you are used to Keep on top of reading and revision

The reality of life as a dental student... and of a dental career


You need to study over and above 9 to 5 on weekdays You will have to commit yourself to selfdirected, steady learning to succeed and find out how you personally learn best There is white time in your timetable with no classes - this is for you to do your own learning There is rarely homework lecturers will expect you to identify what you need to do to learn A high level of professionalism is required of you as a dental student, as will be taking on great responsibility for others - the first step is taking on responsibility for yourself

The usual three weeks of revision before exams will not be enough if you havent kept up there is just too much to learn for dentistry

Effective learning strategies


These focus on DEEP PROCESSING 1) Question generation Compare, contrast, link ideas, generate examples 2) Concept mapping Sketching out Nodes and Links 3) Use information in the way the teachers expect Practise recall without referring to notes Invent exam questions using the intended learning outcomes and your knowledge of the exam

Tackling the workload


Turn up to classes and do the work borrowing someone elses notes is not a good enough substitute Getting to classes early means you can revise where you were last time and look through any new handout you are ready to start Re-read, revise and and organise your notes within 24 hours ideally to start getting it into long-term memory repeat at the weekend Discuss academic issues with tutors and your classmates Always ask if you dont understand or you need help

Effective Notetaking
Notetaking engages your brain Hand notes give greatest flexibility use arrows, flow diagrams, boxes and circles for important stuff and adopt your own short

UoB BDS

STUDY AND EXAM SKILLS


Recording Lectures
If you are not good at taking notes, consider recording the lecture Let the lecturer know first and dont do this in seminars without permission of your fellow students their contributions would be recorded too Livescribe pens Record what you hear as you write (although the scratching of the pen on the paper is also recorded and can be irritating) You can tap onto the key point you have written and the recording goes to that place in the lecture These cost around 160 You need special books to write in

hand (e.g. diff difference; diffn differentiation; ptn protein) Summarise the key points Write down words to jog your memory and remind you of what you missed Leave space in your notes to add to them later THE SAME DAY rewriting them to make them look neat can be a waste of time you will associate your scribbles with being in the lecture

Learning from books


Get rid of all distractions when studying treat study as a job Focus and do not try to multitask you will work quicker Use your notes as a starting point for your own reflections on how the material links to other parts of the course Spend 10 minutes every week in quick review of your notes, and you will retain most of what you have learned If you use a Cue column to summarise the notes just after the lecture, you can use this as a way to revise later, by closing your notes and seeing what you remember having just looked at one of the cues Survey the topic and the course handbook What books are recommended? Find the relevant sections in the books that relate to what you are learning now Read to understand Re-read and make notes Read again and check your notes do the job do they highlight the real key points?

UoB BDS

STUDY AND EXAM SKILLS


Colours aid memory Scents aid memory Shapes, pictures and layouts aid memory

Exam preparation and revision


Positive thinking: Dont imagine yourself getting the grade, imagine yourself at the desk successfully tackling the subject and questions Stress is normal; exercise is good and endorphins will help combat stress; sleep is good too, but not on your notes.... Blood flow and oxygen are good for the brain dont sit around too much revising for hours Break it up and mix it up Regular breaks should be planned into your revision timetable Reading your notes is good, but only for so long Test yourself, ask yourself questions Close your file and try and talk or write for two minutes on a specified topic Invent exam questions from the learning outcomes in the handbook Pretend you are teaching someone and walk around talk to your goldfish!

Word of caution time spent producing detailed pretty pictures is as much a waste of time as blindly rewriting your lecture notes to make them look neat. Quick sketches serve the purpose and better! Audio thinker? Read out loud Good with words? Make tables and lists To learn from tables in books, close the book and reconstruct them yourself

Use wasted time wisely


Throughout your time at university there can be a lot of waiting for appointments, friends to turn up etc. Use the time! 10 minutes here or there add up to A LOT over a term Make cards with a question on one side and the answer on the other to keep in your bag test yourself Driving? Do the same and record a podcast ask a question, give yourself thinking time, then tell yourself the answer

Memory
OK , it should be more about understanding, but lets face it, some of us have better memories than others and it certainly helps when you are starting on a subject.

Exam tips getting there


Find out where the exam is in advance check out the room if you havent been there before so that you wont stress on the day

UoB BDS

STUDY AND EXAM SKILLS


For negatively marked exams if you have a tendency to be gung-ho and never use the dont know option, use a piece of paper and write down which questions you are SURE of - work out how many marks you would get. Assume you will get some wrong, and then work out the next riskiest ones once you are well clear of the pass mark do not guess

Check the time it starts and when you have to be there usually quite a while before to get seated and hear the rules for the exam Get there in loads of time you can always go and get a coffee nearby if you are way too early but dont get distracted and be late! Take your ID you need to know your candidate number Speak only to people who will make you feel good about the exam

Exam tips you may now start


Dont freak out when you see the paper read it carefully - the questions will look worse than they really are Quick scan, then plan Dont jump to start writing immediately have you sorted out which are the easy questions and do you know what you are being asked for? Highlight words so you can focus on the question Think: How do I get the most marks for this question, and the exam? Ration your time in proportion to the marks Dont do the exam in the order the exam questions are laid out start with the easy questions Leave a question unfinished if the alternative is leaving another out - haul in the easy marks you can go back later to check all your answers if you have given yourself time and add anything you didnt think of earlier If the questions are longer ones, you might want to try mind mapping the question and brainstorm ideas in dentistry exams we are not looking for eloquence just illustration of understanding and this can be done in bullet points, tables, diagrams, or mind maps. Dont worry about what the others are doing they may be scribbling loads, but is it any good? Work in your own way and dont worry about them.

Problems?
Dont let these escalate Seek help early Ask for help and advice from your lecturers they want you to succeed!