Recommendations for preparation for open book exams in AS and PH modules in August

3 August 2020

Our recommendation is that you prepare for the coming open book exams in a similar way to what has been successful for you in past exams. This time round you know that you have the fallback of referring to your notes if you need to, but for the benefit of your future studies as well as these exams you want to be as familiar with the module material as you can be. Your coming exams are still time-limited, so you are not likely to have lots of time to refer to your notes.

The coming AS and PH exams will look reasonably similar to "usual", but it is likely that there will be less in there than in previous exams that requires a student just to copy a definition or a "standard" derivation from their notes. You can expect there to be marks that require a good functional understanding of the content in the module and associated skills.

We suggest aiming for a good functional understanding of the material in the module, as usual. That will likely be of great help for those of you studying with us again next session, and will likely be useful for you in the online exam.

We suggest that in preparation for the exam you generate a two or three page summary of core ideas in each module and how they inter-relate, and maybe relate to work in prior or concurrent modules. This will likely be useful in "seeing the wood for the trees", getting a better functional understanding, in seeing how things link together, and for quick access during the exam.

We recommend not spending substantial time re-listening to lecture-recordings for revision: you will likely gain much more from actively working with the material. If you can not make sense of something in the recording, there is probably a gap in your knowledge or understanding that is not in the recording itself, so that it is likely to be much more useful to consult other resources such as textbooks and your notes from earlier lectures, or discuss with peers, etc.

Once you feel that you are on top of the ideas and techniques in a module, or a chunk of a module, we recommend that you then get practice in problem solving from tutorial questions, past exam papers, and maybe exercises and questions in text books.

We note that past exam questions can be useful to practice, but these should not direct your revision. It could be that the August exam questions cover material that has not featured in the exam for that module in recent years.

The University publishes past exam papers for AS and PH modules; these are accessible from MySaint, Academic Activities.

The School of Physics and Astronomy publishes for most of its modules one past exam paper with a draft solution and often the generic feedback supplied to that set of candidates.  This may be accessed from the School's home page > Current Students > Undergraduates > School information> Examinations - Past Paper solutions.