I feel revision for the Patterns for e-Business exam is going pretty well. There are some interesting questions to answer, such as describing the difference between the Strategy and State patterns. That one’s absorbed a fair bit of thought to get my ideas to some degree of clarity and conciseness.
My revision schedule has settled down into a pattern now, being the public-spirited chap that I am, I’ll share what works for me with you.
Step 1 – Lecture Notes and Background
Review the lecture notes piece by piece, making sure that every term, statement and nuance is understood. This usually starts as soon as the lectures are done. Often, I’ll work through the notes noting down each important statement as a question so that I can quiz myself.
I haven’t yet had an exam immediately following the lecture series (I think in each case so far, the first five weeks have been lectures, followed by a reading week, a subsequent five week series, a reading week, and then the exam period) which would cut that time down to one week, meaning that revision would need to happen during the course of the exams.
This time involves a fair bit of ‘reading around’ the subject, chasing down those subtleties that I missed during the course of the lectures. Easily done – the pace can be kinda intense. This bit probably averages less than an hour a day – but it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Step 2 – Past Papers
Answer every question on every past exam paper I can find to learn how the questions are asked and how to answer them.
I don’t pay too much attention to past papers until I feel I’ve got a good coverage of the course material. I hope that this helps me avoid just learning how to answer the exam questions. It’s more about the learning than the exams, right?
This step is generally no more than a week or two before the exam.
Step 3 – Exam Day
I like afternoon exams. I follow my usual schedule and get into University before 9am, giving me the whole morning to review the past papers and any troublesome spots one last time and generally take it fairly easy. It’s nice not to have to worry about travelling and delays, too.
This approach has also worked well for me for the Sun Certifications I’ve taken. As far as I can tell, there’s no real short cuts to learning stuff – it takes time and effort (if only I had a USB port for my internal memory!)