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Preparing for assessment

In this video, students at the University of York share their tips for preparing for your first assessment.
My main tip for preparing for assessment success is to set a revision plan and stick to it– definitely. Give yourself plenty of time, plenty of time. Don’t cram the day before, that is a recipe for disaster. You will not have enough time and it’s not going to be a fun experience for you at all. If you give yourself plenty of time, if you set a plan and give yourself a couple of weeks, that means you can have plenty of breaks, you can get proper sleep, and you’re not going to stress out too much. So a saying that I always personally like to live by is work smart, not hard.
And this means, for me, starting on my assessments way before they’re due, whether this is just starting on the layout of the work, or starting on a plan of the work, or asking questions about the work. And I would always say try and do a little bit at a time, even if it’s a little bit each day or a little bit each week and not leave it to last minute. If you’ve got lots of essays due in all at the same time, it’s really important that you set yourselves little mini deadlines or little things to achieve tasks to have completed by the time that you need to have completed them.
If, like me, you’re really busy– I have a job which is two hours away from where I live, it’s really important that I structure myself and I structure the work that I need to do and set myself those goals to achieve because, otherwise, things can really slip by the wayside. So I think it’s so important to look after yourself when you’re preparing for an assessment as well– so eating while, sleeping well, drink lots of water, and make sure you give yourself breaks.

In this video, there is a common theme in most of the tips about preparing for assessment. Can you spot it?

Planning ahead is key. Planning ahead will enable you to organise your time and avoid the dreaded last-minute cramming. Making a plan enables you to look after yourself and reduce stress. Planning ahead gives you time to access appropriate advice and support.

Throughout your time at university, you will be asked to prepare for many assessments and examinations. You may feel worried as you approach your deadlines, which is completely normal. It may help to talk to your personal tutor or module leaders or share your thoughts with other students, family and friends. This will help you to keep things in perspective.

It’s important to create a plan and a study environment that works best for you. Remember, the art of successful preparation is a skill that you will improve with practice.

Academic integrity

One further thing to consider for your assessments is academic integrity. That may sound rather daunting at first and is something you may well have seen at various times in the media but it shouldn’t be too much of a concern if you approach study in the right spirit. We have talked about the sense of an academic community at various times in this course, and academic integrity is integral to help maintain that.

The key values to recognise are:

  • Honesty: acknowledging what is your own work and what ideas you have sourced from others
  • Trust: ensuring that others can trust that the work you produce is your own
  • Fairness: knowing that the grades and award you achieve will be the product of hard work within the rules of the University
  • Respect: you respect the hard work and contribution of your fellow students and members of the wider academic community by acknowledging their research and ideas in your work
  • Responsibility: you take responsibility for ensuring you understand the academic conventions you need to follow in order to demonstrate the authenticity of your work.

(Source: The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity).

You’ll be given lots of guidance in this area, in terms of referencing, subject-specific conventions, tools to help you, and general best practice. At York, those are available to everyone on the following collection of academic integrity pages.

Your tips for preparing for assessments

It’s likely you have all had assessments of some kind already, and many of you will have had exams. What are your tips? What worked (or didn’t!) for you? Drop your points into the Comments below.

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