How to Prepare for Prelims

Oxford

Molly Archer-Zeff


First of all, I just want to remind you that Prelims are not necessarily an indication of how you will do in your overall degree. They are exams to see how you have been coping throughout the first year, not a test of whether or not you are capable of getting a First. It can be a stressful time but try to stay relatively relaxed throughout your revision - keeping a healthy mindset is the best preparation that you can do!


One of the best ways that you can prepare for Prelims is by making sure that you focus on your work throughout the year. This will help you to gain an in-depth understanding of your different modules and give you opportunities to practice your exam technique as you go along. If your notes are useful for revision this will save you a lot of time building up content. However, if you look back at your notes from Michaelmas and realise, like I did, that they were absolutely useless, it is not an impossible task to start re-reading. This can actually be helpful for revealing details or observations that you didn’t discover the first time you read it!


Make sure that you continue to eat meals with your friends, go to events, do exercise, etc. Indefinitely sitting in the library for weeks will undoubtedly lead to lots of wasted time procrastinating that could be spent relaxing and regenerating. Working in shorter bursts with plenty of breaks will probably be far more productive than trudging through hours at your desk.


Looking back at examiners reports are a good practical way of revising. This gives you an insight into what markers did and didn’t like about past answers and can highlight important things to consider when answering a question.


Figuring out which revision techniques works best for you is also a really useful thing to do; Collections are a great opportunity for this. If you’re finding revision cards boring and ineffective try mind mapping. There are also some really great online tools and apps that can be useful (personally, Quizlet got me through my Prelims). What worked for you in Sixth Form may not be so useful now so take this opportunity to learn more about how you revise best.


Good luck!

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