COVID-19: Preparing for take home exams?

Hand holds penciel on paperPreparing for take home exams? Follow our top 5 study tips.

Like many students, you may be experiencing a new type of exam this year: the ‘take home’ exam. In due course, you’ll be given more details about what this means for your course and we urge you to follow the advice your lecturers give you. Below are our Study Advice tips about revising and preparing for this form of assessment

Tip #1: Revise as you would normally

Right now, you should be revising as you would normally for your modules. Make a revision timetable and start going over the content. You won’t have long between having the paper and submitting your answer; the exam will be available for 23hrs in most cases but you are strongly advised only to spend the normal exam duration actually working on it. So now is the time to reflect on what you’ve learnt. It’s also important that you revise according to the type of exam you’re taking, we have videos covering all types of exams, from MCQs to essay based exams to help guide you.

Tip #2: Practice active revision

Make your revision as active as possible using a variety of techniques; make an online study group with friends, mind map the content, use post-it notes and revision cards to test key concepts. Whilst your exams will probably take a different form to previous years, you can still make effective use of past exam papers to test your understanding and application of knowledge. Above all, don’t waste time re-writing out your notes or just reading through content; these are passive techniques and are unlikely to help.

Tip #3: Be organised

It’s likely that you won’t have long to submit your answers, once you are given the paper. Make sure you create a system for organising your notes on any particular subject; you’re going to want to access the most relevant information as quickly as you can.

Tip #4: Watch for unintentional plagiarism and collusion

It’s OK to revise with others (in fact this can be an effective way of testing yours and your friend’s understanding) but once you have been issued with the paper, it’s important that you work on it alone. You will be asked to submit your work through Turnitin, which will match your work with others that have been submitted, as well as information from the internet, books and journals. Make sure it’s all your own work, as you would any other assessment.

Tip #5: Prepare for the day

You may be given a set time to sit the exam and submit your answers. Make sure you are fully prepared beforehand by:

  • Ensuring you have somewhere quiet to work, where you won’t be disturbed
  • Checking you have the technology you need: access to Bb, Turnitin and Wifi
  • Having access to all the material you need. I’d also suggest a clock to ensure you’re keeping on track
  • Ensuring you fully understand the format of the exam, how you are being asked to submit answers and have done any trial runs that have been made available to you

Good luck!

Dr Sonia Hood, FHEA
Study Advice Manager, Study Advice & Maths Support

COVID-19: 5 tips for studying @ home

Reading glasses and pens rest on an open bookStudying at home requires self-discipline, organisation and effective time management strategies. Follow our Study Advice top 5 tips to make the most of your study time at home.

Tip #1: Set up your home office

Make sure you have somewhere dedicated to studying. Set up your desk and keep your device, books, paper and stationery to hand. Try to keep the space separate from where you relax, even if it is just a corner in your bedroom. Leave it tidy, so it is more inviting to return to the next day.

Tip #2: Create a study timetable

It’s important to allocate time to study (and time to relax and do exercise). Think about when in the day you’re more effective (for most this is the morning). You might want to consider, for instance, taking a couple of hours off every afternoon to take some exercise and return to your studies in the early evening. Make sure you add in regular breaks and rewards along the way. For more on creating a timetable, watch this short video.

Tip #3: Set yourself weekly goals

It’s important to know what you hope to achieve each week – especially if you are working on a project like a dissertation or revising for exams. Goals help to ensure we stay on track but also help to motivate us to keep going and give us that sense of achievement. Work backwards from your deadlines to determine where you want to be at the end of each week. If you have a shorter deadline (like an assignment to write in a week), instead set yourself some daily goals. This video will help you do this.

Tip #4: Work with others

During these times, it’s important to continue to connect with others. Keep in touch with peers and motivate each other. Arrange daily catch-ups, virtual coffee chats or perhaps some revision groups, where you can test each other’s understanding. Do share your study goals too, as you are more likely to strive to meet them once you’ve declared them.

Tip #5: Use the advice and support available

It might feel that you’re on your own, but all the central services are still running.

Make the most of the support and expertise on offer and ensure you get the grades you deserve.

Dr Sonia Hood, FHEA
Study Advice Manager, Study Advice & Maths Support

COVID-19 update: Library services move fully online

Silvery-gold clad University of Reading Library buildings in distance, surrounded by green trees, green grass in foregroundIn line with the University’s move to online teaching, the University Library moved services fully online with effect from Monday 23 March 2020.  Please be assured that we will continue to provide you with our services.  We will ensure that all online resources and additional online help are available to you during the current, unprecedented public health situation.

Using Library online services

A significant proportion of our resources are already available online. There will be no change to this service and everything that you previously used will continue to be available. A simple way to find existing and new resources in your subject is to check our online subject guides: the new COVID-19 tab lists extra resources provided to UoR during the lockdown period.

Online resources

Undergraduate and post-graduate taught course students: you can still access UoR online reading lists directly and via Blackboard. Many of the items on your reading lists are accessible online, with some lists fully available online.

For your research, you can still access e-resources through the Library website, to find our extensive collection of e-books, e-journals and databases. The following tools will help you:

Online Library help and assistance

All Library staff are still available to help and assist with your studies and research.

Library materials currently on loan

Whilst the Library building remains closed the printed book collection will not be available.  If you currently have books on loan that are due back do not worry!  We will automatically renew them for you so that you do not get fined.  And if you incur any fines during this period of online working you will not be charged.  Books that you currently have on loan will not be recalled and you will not be expected to return them whilst the building is closed.  If you want to place a reservation (hold) on a book you can continue to do so and we will seek to satisfy your request.  For loan and general enquiries, please email library@reading.ac.uk

Interlibrary loans

You can still request Inter-Llibrary Loans in the usual manner, completing the online request form.  If you currently have Inter-Library Loans (books) from another library do not worry, we will arrange for the return date to be extended for you.  For Inter-Library Loan enquiries, please email ill@reading.ac.uk.

Other enquiries

If you have any other enquiries or require any additional support, please email library@reading.ac.uk.

Look out for further Library service updates on the Library websiteUniversity Library News blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Stuart Hunt, Director