Have you ever come out of an Open University examination feeling all pleased with yourself? Maybe even happy and contented that you’ve done well. Then you eagerly mix with fellow students and discuss a point or question and to your shock or horror they are all describing the answer to a question COMPLETELY differently from how you have approached it? Then, suddenly, you start to panic a little. Oh well, it’s done now. You silently scream to yourself and then go into a stage of denial, followed by apathy and then finally say something out loud like, “Oh I don’t care anyway it’s done now, I can always re-sit it.” The re-sit – a classic fall back position. It might not have even been from an Open University exam but somewhere else. Either way, sounds familiar? Yeah, this was me too…..

From GCSEs, through my A Levels and even way back to SAT tests I have been slightly averse to studying for exams. Let’s face it, who actually likes exams? OK maybe some sick individuals (joke of course, each to their own!) may enjoy burning the midnight oil, head stuck in multiple books trying desperately to cram every last modicum of information into their tired out brains. And, I may concede, it’s hard to beat the sense of relief and elation that sweeps across you as soon as the invigilator calls that it is time to put down that pen for the final time. Aah, bliss. Stretch back across the desk and let out an audible sigh if you like; after all you’ve earned it.

Unless you’re experiencing the dreaded feelings of, “I could’ve done more” or “I needed more time on that question” you can be forgiven for feeling slightly pleased with yourself. All of this is of course post-exam discussion. But how can we avoid these scenarios? By ensuring that we are fully prepared for the examination in the first place. Take a look at this tweet from poor old @mattyn89:


Everybody revises for exams differently. Just like we study, read and respond to methods in a different manner from our fellow student. What works for me might not necessarily work for him or her sitting across the room.

Here are a few pointers to proceed with:

1) Get hold of some past exam papers. The Open University do sell these so grab some and get a feel for the wording of the questions and the structure of the paper so at least the format won’t be alien to you when presented with a fresh one on exam day.

2) Recreate some exam conditions. Not easy of course but sitting for longer stints trying to write in a controlled environment under time restrictions can help.

3) Say it out loud! Read your revision notes out loud. Sing them or shout them if it makes you feel better! Make the written word come to life by reading key points out loud.

4) Once you have a good understanding of each part of a topic (which you will because you’ve been studying hard on it for the past so many months) drill the points down to bite size chunks. A line on something or even a couple of words are easier to revise and you should have the knowledge stored away inside your brain to expand on each when called upon. Learning the background knowledge throughout the module makes it easier to pare things down to a minimum for easier, more manageable revision.

Oh and in case you are wondering, it was A217: Introducing Religions that I took an exam for. And you know what? It wasn’t actually that bad after all!

Did you enjoy this article or find it useful? Have you taken an examination with the Open University and if so how did it go? Please LIKE/TWEET/SHARE and drop a comment below with your thoughts.

The image for our Open University assistance guide coming soon!

The image for our Open University assistance guide coming soon!