STUVAC 101

Don’t squander STUVAC! Follow these top tips from fifth-year Electrical Engineering student James Roberts-Thompson and you’ll smash your upcoming exams.

The semester has flown past and suddenly STUVAC is dawning upon you. For the benefit of first year students, facing exams with uncomfortably high percentages, limited time to study, and a full list of things you’d rather be doing than studying, here are a few things I’ve learned after five years of STUVACs:

1. Sleep and take exercise breaks!

You’ve probably heard this before, but my number one tip is to get 9+ hours of sleep. Have study breaks that involve exercise - like a 30-minute walk, or going to the gym. Scrolling through Facebook or watching a movie is a sure-fire way to waste time (2+ hours) and not actually feel like you’ve had a proper break!

2. Make a daily study plan, but don’t chain yourself to your desk out of a sense of guilt

Make a plan for what you’re going to do for the day, get it done, and get out of there. Being productive for two hours, and actually understanding the content is WAY better than five hours of unproductive, ‘I’m-studying-but-not-actually-remembering-any-of-this’.

3. Learn the fundamentals, don’t just memorise past papers

This is a big one. Many people just memorise formulas and questions they’ve seen before to study for the exam (I’ve been guilty of this too). Instead, really try to understand the content before you touch any past papers and try to leave practice exams until a day or two before the actual exam.

4. Look forward to something at the end of the day

If you can’t get excited about your statistics study – promise yourself an awesome dinner. If integrals are draining your soul – reward yourself with laser tag or something. I find this a great way to keep motivated to finish my work.

5. Study with friends

Studying with friends usually makes you realise how under prepared you are and motivates you to learn. It also allows you to bounce topics off each other helping you understand them better. Just make sure you pick friends who actually want to study!

6. Make post-exam plans

Whenever you have something you really want to do, put it on a list of things to do after exams. It feels fantastic to finish your last exam and then have heaps of time to see the new Star Wars movie, or go to the beach.

My last tip is not to stress too much if you feel under prepared, learning the content is much more important than getting a high mark. If the exam isn’t amazing, but you’ve learned the key concepts, that’s a bigger success in my books than the other way around! 

-     James Robert-Thompson, fifth-year Electrical Engineering student

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'Imagineering' will return in semester two. Good luck with your exams and check back on the 18th July for the next blog post.  

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