Study Tips: From a Science & Engineering Student

Fahd Pervaiz, a 3rd year PhD student at the School of Engineering and Materials Science, has some study tips.

Hi, my name is Fahd Pervaiz and I’m a 3rd year PhD student at the School of Engineering and Materials Science here at Queen Mary. My PhD focuses on the experimental research of an alternative method of harnessing wind energy on a small scale. I hold a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Queen Mary, and it may be shocking to hear that all the exams during my degree were done in person, so I thought I’d share some tips on how I revised all those many years ago.

Revising Tips

Revising for exams can be the most stressful period of our studies, and previous experience has taught me that, no matter how superhuman you are, practice makes perfect. Past exam papers are the best resources available as they give you an idea of how the actual exam would be structured and what types of questions would be asked, however, they are very limited. Fortunately, many lecturers base their exam questions on those found in the textbooks on which the modules are based, so also skim through them and use the questions in them as further practice. Avoid just reading the textbooks and remembering word for word what it is written as this is very ineffective because it relies, firstly, on you remembering what was written and in an exam it is likely that you’ll forget, and secondly, if the exam question is about the same topic but worded slightly differently, you wouldn’t be able to apply the knowledge because you’ll only be able to answer for that specific case you read about. When taking in such information, try your best to fully understand it and see how it applies to different applications which allows you to see the bigger picture and helps you remember it more easily. I personally remember in my first undergraduate year, a question was asked in an exam paper that mentioned a specific application, and because I had done my best to understand the theory and its applications beforehand, I was able to answer the question with confidence (I think I got the correct answer).

Student Wellbeing

Personal wellbeing during exams is just as important as the revision itself. Just as a professional runner would take extra care of their legs when training, a student needs to take care of their mental capacity when revising for their exams. The main thing is not to over work yourself, as a lot of students get in the habit of working until they are burnt out, thinking that they are being productive, but ultimately complain that they don’t understand or remember anything and go into a meltdown. The main thing here to remember is that the quality of study is much better than the quantity of study. Just as the runner doesn’t run all day, a student shouldn’t study all day. Make sure to give yourself plenty of short breaks throughout the day and have a cut off point where you would no longer study until the next day. This is to ensure your brain has time to relax and absorb all the information taken in. When taking your breaks, leave your place of study just to give a change of environment, maybe go for a walk, go for prayer/contemplation, read a few pages of your favourite book, whatever you like to do to destress and refresh your mind.

I hope these tips make a real positive difference on your studying and all the best in your exams! 


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