Study Tips from Science Peer Academic Coaches (SPAC)

July 18, 2016

 A row of students studying at a long table.

Science Peer Academic Coaches (SPAC) help you discover which study methods work best for you.

General Study Tips

  • After you study a particular section, do the corresponding problem set questions immediately.
  • While going through the material, create questions in your head that might be asked on the exam.
  • Find past exams and answer the questions under test conditions (set a time limit and remove distractions).
  • Use a calendar-style notebook to track the things you need to do every day and make sure you mark them "Done" or "To Do" at the end of each day.
  • Read information out loud to store it in 2 ways: you'll see it and hear it!

Chemistry Study Methods

  • Do practice problems immediately after studying related concepts
  • Verbally describe the steps needed to solve each type of problem
  • Do a question that would require you to use each formula on the formula sheet
  • Use visualizations (e.g. models, drawings) to help you understand concepts

Biology Study Methods

  • Make a mind map of the main concepts
  • Draw your own diagrams/flow charts
  • Don’t rewrite notes, instead re-organize concepts and materials to create new connections
  • Verbally explain learning objectives to yourself or a study buddy

English Study Tips

  • Re-read texts
  • Prepare for various essay topics by brainstorming essay points
  • Practice writing essays in exam conditions
  • Get support on proofreading and editing with a writing consultation

Physics Study Tips

  • Understand the theories behind the formulas
  • Prioritize course materials (notes, text, MasteringPhysics)
  • Do problems involving the same concept together
  • Re-do problems that you are struggling with

Mathematics Study Tips

  • Practice, practice, practice (problems are more important than notes)
  • Don’t look up answers! Work through the problems on your own
  • Make sure you understand the theory, but don’t fixate on details
  • Know which formulas are provided and memorize them others early

Effective Exam Strategies

  1. Skim at the beginning
    • Do easier questions first
    • Star harder questions to come back to
    • Read instructions carefully, check units
    • Plan out your time accordingly
    • Check that you have all the pages
    • Identify mark distribution, prioritize questions
  2. Multiple Choice
    • Read questions very carefully
    • Predict the answer before looking at the answers provided to avoid being tricked
    • Do easier questions first
    • Process of Elimination - cross out the answers that are wrong to narrow the choices down
  3. A picture is worth 1000 words
    • Draw a diagram whenever you can
    • Diagrams can help supplement an answer during problem solving questions
  4. Be concise
    • Do not over-think
    • Keep answer as clear as possible for the marker
    • Avoid repeating yourself
    • Take the time to write a concise thesis statement
  5. Answer all the questions
    • Don’t give up - something is better than nothing
    • Answer all the questions unless there is a penalty for wrong answers
    • If you don't know the answer to a question, still put something down! You might get it right.
  6. Don't panic
    • The purpose of the exam is to demonstrate what you know
    • Take a deep breath if you feel yourself getting anxious/nervous while writing the exam
    • Learn strategies to combat emotional responses during a stressful situation

Get a Coach!Helpful Learning Resources

  • Study Tips

Musqueam First Nation land acknowledegement

UBC Science acknowledges that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

Learn more: Musqueam First Nation

Faculty of Science

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