Exam tips

Hey guys, I hope you’ve all had a lovely Easter and are feeling well rested!

As the Easter holidays come to a close, I’m sure you’ll all be gearing up for your assessments and exams. Some of you might be freaking out, but don’t worry, they’re a lot less dreadful than they seem beforehand! The key to success in the exam period is to make sure you have a good routine for studying, and in between your revision to look after your wellbeing. Below, to help you through this period, I thought I’d list some tips and tricks that help me:

  • Plan out your time- it seems like the most basic one that your teachers/parents/websites will tell you works, and some of you might roll your eyes at the idea of a study timetable, but it really does help! It helps you to keep an eye on your progress and get everything you want to do that day done without you having to go back over things and question what you’ve studied and what you haven’t. It also makes sure you leave time for breaks. Speaking of…
  • Take regular breaks- you need to allow yourself time to relax. A lot of people think that if you don’t take breaks and you power on through you’ll get more done, which, by logistics, is true… however, the stuff that you revise without breaking won’t sink in as well as if you were to take breaks as your brain will be stressed and won’t have had time to take in what you do study. Breaks also give you a chance to eat a snack to keep your body fuelled.
  • Snacking and water- make sure you have some snacks to keep yourself from being distracted by hunger, and also drink lots of water whilst studying to make sure you stay hydrated.
  • Make your studying work for you- I’m sure you’ve heard about the different types of learning before; Visual (Spatial), Aural (Auditory-Musical), Verbal (Linguistic) and Physical (Kinesthetic). Some ways of studying work better for some people for others, for example, I’m quite a visual learner, so if I can find any videos or make flowcharts etc. to help me study I benefit from it a lot, but I personally can’t read blocks and blocks of text, so I take a more visual approach to studying. More visual ways to help yourself study include using different colours and keys, pictures and charts, some aural ways to study include listening to learning podcasts or videos, and coming up with rhymes or songs to help you remember things, some verbal ways are to also use rhymes or songs to speak out loud whilst studying, and some kinesthetic ways are to combine studying with an activity or to use flashcards.

These are just a few of the tips that help me, and I hope they help you too. If you have any questions or have your own tips and tricks that you’d like to share with anyone reading this post, then feel free to comment below!

A Short Guide To Presentations

Many courses at Edge Hill University require you to present as part of your coursework. I don’t particularly enjoy presenting to an audience, but then again, I doubt many people do. However, one thing about presentations I do enjoy is the creation of the visual medium you present from. Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Slides – these are the tools of the trade. Although my experience is primarily from scientific presentations, hopefully, these tips can transcend course boundaries and aid people from any discipline!

Text

The most common mistake when creating a presentation is to fill it to the brim with words. When this happens, you run the risk of reading directly off the screen and overloading your audience with information. I’d suggest minimal words on the slides, relying more on visual information like pictures and diagrams. However, words are still very much necessary to convey key information. Any statistics, unfamiliar names, or important facts should be highlighted by having them on screen – preferably with a related image.

Theme

An important part of a presentation is the theme. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, as long as it’s consistent. All of the previously mentioned programs have built in themes, with more available to download. I’ve found that most of the time, simple is best.

Here, the theme revolves around three main colours, orange, lime and cyan. Not exactly harmonious colours, but the contrast allows me to get the point across visually in graphs and diagrams.
A simple theme of just orange and white, but making use of bolding to highlight key points, as well as images to provide further understanding and make the slides visually interesting.

Graphics

Equally as important as the theme are the graphics in a presentation. Use of pictures to engage the audience helps break up any lengthy sections of the presentation and provide further visual information. In my two examples here, you can see how the images of four different habitats become the background of the next slide detailing the environments, and the use of a full-slide map that was used to provide context to the presentation.

In the biological sciences, graphs are very useful to display key numerical information in a visually appealing way. When using graphs, colour coding is key – as are labels. If your graph is up to scratch, then no other written information should be necessary on the slide and any further clarification should be made verbally.

I hope these tips serve you well, and I wish you luck on any future presentations you make!

5 Perfect Places to Study Around Campus!

Hello all!

Now that we’re well into January, Edge Hill has kicked into study mode! Various exams and assessments are occurring currently, so I thought what would be better than to show you the perfect places to study around campus, as I think Edge Hill is probably one of the best Universities in terms of the variety of study-suited areas for students, each with their own atmosphere and resources.

1) The Edge Hill Library

Edge Hill Library

This is probably my favourite place to study, for a variety of reasons:

  • The library has a variety of brilliant resources- endless books (two floors full!), Windows computers for those who don’t have a computer/laptop of their own or for if you just want a change of atmosphere, printers and photocopiers, quiet independent and group study rooms which are suitable for getting your head down and getting work done, laptops available for rent and (possibly my favourite thing…) a vending machine with stationary!
  • The library is open 24 hours for students, all you need is your Student ID card so that you can gain entry! This is great, because you know there is a place where you can study for long periods of time without worrying about having to move somewhere else when you’re on a roll with your work. It also means that if you particularly like to work in either a busy or quiet environment, you can choose to go study in the library when you know it’s usually busier or quieter once you get used to the general atmosphere throughout the day.
  • As I mentioned above, the library has a variety of independent and group study rooms available upon booking. The thing I love the most about these is that they mean you’re not sat in your room where the urge to procrastinate is insane, but you’re in your own room away from the possible distractions of other students. This is especially awesome for when you’re only available to study at a certain time, but you know the library will be busy and you like to have a quiet atmosphere.

Recently, the University just announced that a new library will be built as of 2017, something which I’m sure you’ll agree is an exciting development and will provide even better facilities for you and future studies! See the post on this here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/news/2016/12/new-year-sees-work-begin-exciting-campus-developments/

If you wish to read more about the facilities in the library and info on the resources available to students, click this link: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/ls/learningspace/

2) Hale Hall

Hale Hall

Hale Hall isn’t strictly a study area in the way that the library is- there aren’t books and computers available for you- but I still love it just as much!

There are many comfortable sofas in Hale Hall and tables, as you can see above, and the atmosphere is perfect for quiet study. There are moments throughout the day where Hall Hale might be slightly busy, however, it is mostly quiet and although you are studying, the atmosphere doesn’t seem as tense as maybe a space designed strictly for studying, like the library, might feel. It just feels comfortable!

3) The Hub

The upstairs area of the Hub

The Hub is situated in the centre of the campus, so easily accessible to all! The Hub is mostly for students to grab food between lessons or for catered students to get their meals for the day, however there is an upstairs area that’s perfect for getting work and revision done. There are computers and a printer and photocopier available for any work you need them for, and although most of the seats available are fairly out in the open, there are some small booths which are better for getting more privacy to work quietly, with large touchscreen computers for your use.

4) The LINC Building

The LINC Building

The LINC building is situated very close to the library in the centre of the campus, so is also just as accessible as the library and the Hub!

One of the biggest reasons I like this building when I have to study or get coursework done is the fact that it has a large amount of computers accessible to students 24/7 as long as you have your student ID. It also has printers and photocopiers for your use too!

The atmosphere of this building is great for if you need to focus on your work, as it’s mostly quiet throughout the day, however, it can get busy at times due to there being so many computers for the use of students, so if you want to get work done I wouldn’t wait around!

Here’s a link to the University’s page on the LINC building for a bit more info: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/ls/learningspace/linc/

5) Your room!

A room in the Back Halls accommodation

Of course, if you don’t like to study in places like the library or just find it easier to study in the environment of your own room, then why not?

Personally, I don’t find it so easy to study in my room as I get distracted too easy and procrastinate, but I do know that some people find it way easier to study in their own personal space so this is always an option for everyone! It also makes studying more appealing when it’s freezing or raining (typical Northern weather), as you can stay in in your pyjamas and slippers, have a coffee or two and power on through your work comfortably!

So, I hope this has given you some good tips and an idea of the kind of places available for studying at Edge Hill! Thank you for reading 🙂

Presentations

Last week I had to do two presentations. If I’d told my year 13 self that I’d have probably cried. I loathe presentations to their very core. Standing up in front of people, trying to convince them that I know what I’m talking about, having everyone’s attention on me; it just sounds like my worst nightmare.

Unfortunately for us presentation haters, it’s almost inevitable that at some point throughout our university studies  we’re going to have to do a presentation. I find them extremely daunting, I remember last year worrying about one for weeks beforehand. That said, I feel that since I’ve come to university they have become slightly less scary. I’ve become a bit more confident in myself, but I think I also approach them with a different attitude than I used to. Rather than focusing on how scared I am, I tend to just try and get them over with as quickly as possible, whilst working to the best of my ability. I’ve accepted that presentations are not my strong point, but as long as I try that’s all I can expect of myself.

If any of you are worried about giving presentations, I think you should remember that whilst they may not be the assessment you will do best in, there are people on your course who feel the same kind of fear about exams, or writing long essays. Everyone has their different strengths, and just because you are scared to talk in front of a class does not mean that you are not skilled in your chosen subject.

In the end, I don’t think my presentations went too badly. I even improvised a long segment of one of them completely off the top of my head because a point came to me whilst I was presenting that I thought really enriched what I was saying. That is something I would absolutely never have done before, but I think it really paid off. If you’re comfortable enough with it, university really is the time where you can better yourself and take risks. If they don’t pay off then at least you know you tried and you’re one step closer to knowing what works best for you.

Faye’s Blog – A Very Productive Week

So this week has gone very well. I’m managing to get into a better work routine finally!

I have done even more research on my dissertation and managed to get up to 2000 words. Just 8000 more to go! I am also feeling a lot more confident about my dissertation now after I met up with one of my tutors Andrea. She thought that what I am doing is really strong and that the direction that my dissertation is heading is also really good. So, that has made me feel a lot less stressed because I was worrying about my idea. Andrea always helps boost your confidence too because she is really positive and enthusiastic when you are talking to her about your work which is always helpful!

This week I have also managed to write my first assignment that is due in on the 12th November for my Cult Cinema module! Next week is going to involve me re-drafting and re-drafting it! I chose to write my essay on A Clockwork Orangebecause it is one of my favourite cult films!

As well as doing that I have also started reading The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers for my Text to Screen module. I have given myself three weeks to read it because I know that it can be a pretty tough read but so far I am really enjoying it, a lot more that I originally thought I was going to.

I have also chosen a book and it’s film adaptation that I want to use for my Text to Screen module assignment one. I have chosen to do American Psycho again because it is one of my favourite films. I have also wanted to read the book for a while too and have just never gotten around to it, so this gives me a good excuse! I haven’t started reading it yet, I am going to check with my tutor that it is a good choice first!