Library

24 October 2016

Strategies for exam day success

There’s an art to sitting exams. Knowing the material is important, but you also need to use the right strategy, says Librarian Clinton Bell.


In the run up to exams, you might have thought a lot about the best way to revise. But what about the the best approach to use in the exam? There’s a certain skill to taking exams, and taking the right approach on exam day can really help your mark.

There are three main aspects to exam day success: making sure you understand what’s being asked, managing your time, and staying calm under pressure.

Understanding the question

Read the exam instructions thoroughly during reading time. At high school, I knew someone who rushed through the instructions because he was nervous, and missed the part that said “Choose one (1) out of the following topics”. He ended up trying to write three essays instead of one!

You should also read each question carefully and make sure you address exactly what was asked. Pay close attention to direction words like “describe” and “compare”, as well as any other instructions. If you don’t do quite what you were asked, or you only address part of the question, you won’t get full marks.

For more complex questions, you may find it helpful to make a list of the key information before writing your answer. For example, for a question about a medical case study you might note the patient’s symptoms, age, gender, and so on. This helps you keep track of all the relevant information without having to read the entire question again.

Time management

Even if you know the material really well, finishing an exam within the time limit can be challenging, so it’s important to manage your time carefully. Spend time on each question based on how many marks it’s worth - you don’t want to spend 50% of your time on a question that’s only worth 5% of the total mark! On most exams you don’t have to answer the questions in order, so just move on if you get stuck. You can try again later if you get time.

It’s also a good idea to start with the questions you know you can answer. That way if you run out of time, at least you’ll get good marks for the questions you did complete.

Staying calm under pressure

If you find yourself getting overwhelmed during an exam, take a moment to focus. Concentrate on breathing slowly and evenly, and  work through the questions methodically. 

Read each question carefully, identify the important information, and think about how you can apply that information. If you don’t know the answer to a question right away, just keep working through the process.

Look after practical things. Make sure you know how to get to the exam venue, and plan to arrive early in case you’re delayed. Set any equipment you need out the night before so you don’t forget them. Finally, don’t go overboard with caffeine on the morning of the exam. One cup of coffee is fine, but it can give you the jitters if you have too much.

When it’s over it’s over

Celebrate finishing the task and say to yourself, “I’ve done all I can do.” Give yourself a well deserved break.

For more detailed exam strategies please see: http://www.monash.edu/lls/llonline/study/exam/2.xml

Have a healthy and successful exam period, and best of luck on your exams!

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Caulfield Library temporary closure after exams

The refurbishment of the Caulfield Library is progressing well and we’re about to enter the final stage of the project. To allow the major works to be completed more efficiently, Caulfield Library will be closed from Monday 21 November 2016 and will reopen on Monday 20 February 2017.




The Library has made arrangements during this 10-week closure so that Monash staff and students can:
  • use Search and request items held at Caulfield Library for pickup at Room T103, Ground Floor, Building T Monday-Friday, 8am - 6pm. There may be some delays as Caulfield staff will only have access to the collections for short periods each day. You may also request items for pickup at any of our other libraries.
  • return items due at Room T103, Ground Floor, Building T from 7am - 7pm during the week or anytime if you have swipe access. You may also return items at any other library on other campuses during library hours or via the after-hours returns at Law Library at Clayton.
  • get advice and ask questions at our other libraries, through ask.monash.edu, or by telephone (03 9905 5054).
Monash students can find alternative study spaces on the Caulfield campus or other libraries on other campuses.




Members of the public may wish to visit our other libraries at our other campuses.

We apologise for the disruption this temporary closure may cause and ask for your patience during this final stage. The refurbishment is scheduled to be completed by 9 March  2017.

Visit the Library website for more information. If you have any comments or concerns about the Caulfield Library refurbishment project, please email fsd.feedback@monash.edu.


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20 October 2016

Integrating Library guides into Moodle

Library guides showcase Library resources and collections by subject areas and/or provide a detailed guide to Library applications. 


Some lecturers have provided a link to a particular Library guide in their unit’s student reading list. Now, linking to a Library guide from your Moodle unit page is an equally useful way to encourage students to research a range of subject literature or use particular resources. By Tracey Whyte

Why should I integrate Library guides into my Moodle site?


Monash University Library staff have created over 100 Library guides, displaying a variety of topics as can be seen on Library guides website. Each individual guide is separate, allowing for easy linking or embedding of this content.

Like Moodle, Library guides permit:

  • easy navigation - information and applications or databases can be located and retrieved quickly 
  • easy collation of statistics to report usage or evaluate effectiveness
  • collaboration between Library and academic staff
  • content can be printed by students or staff
  • accessibility documents can be created.

There are three different types of Library guides:

1. Faculty and Subject Library guides.  Librarians and Learning skills advisers have created these over 100 of these popular guides across all faculties and linking to content in almost all subject areas taught at the University . Subjects covered in an individual guide cover such widely diverse topics as Indigenous health, Systematic reviews, Econometrics and Business statistics, Marketing, Industrial Design, Medieval and renaissance history, and Physics and Astronomy. The guides link to Library information research and learning skills content in a variety of multimedia formats. There may also be links to unit specific information or resources for particular cohort.

2. Collection and resources Library guides provide discovery and access to information and collections. Examples include the Library guides for Databases, Government Publications, Ada Booth Slavic collection  and the Map collection.

3. There are also instructional Library guides including for Citing and referencing, Endnote, Moodle and Turnitin.

How can a Library guide be incorporated into my unit?


While Library guides may be created to build students skills or knowledge of a discipline and some are aimed at researchers, academics can take advantage of these specialist resources for improved learning and teaching. Talk to your Subject Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser about incorporating Library guides in your units.

All guides are presented in a consistent, structured manner; content displayed can be presented in a variety of formats including text, links, tables, images, widgets, and from RSS or social media feeds. Other resources such as videos or learning objects, like the Academic Integrity module, can be embedded or linked in the platform.

Stay tuned for the next Teaching blog, ‘Discovering Library guides - supplement the resources in your unit Moodle sites’, which will continue this theme, provide practical tips and add more insights into the use of Library guides.

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18 October 2016

Hargrave-Andrew Library - extended hours and bus

Get more study done, with late night opening at the Hargrave-Andrew Library.


From Monday 24 October 2016, until the end of the exam period, the Hargrave-Andrew Library at Clayton will offer extended exam study time.

This will be a good location for you to meet with your friends for a quiet group study session or for an intensive effort on your own.

During this four-week period:

  • The Hargrave-Andrew Library will be open from 8am until 2am Monday to Thursday inclusive.
  • There will be security and a security bus in operation until 3am on the days the library is operating on extended hours.
  • Fridays and weekends will operate on normal hours.
The extended hours will finish on Thursday 17 November.

Check the opening hours for all libraries. Because it is undergoing refurbishment, the Sir Louis Matheson Library will close at 9pm throughout semester two and the exam period.

Study spaces are available elsewhere on Clayton campus this year, including in the Menzies building, the Campus centre and Monash residential halls – Find out more.

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17 October 2016

Additional study spaces at Caulfield

Students at Caulfield campus now have a range of available study spaces, in addition to those in the Caulfield Library.


With the Swot Vac and end of year exam period beginning next week, we understand there is an increased need for study spaces on campus.

Our Caulfield Library offers individual, group and informal study areas to suit a range of different work preferences. Current refurbishment works to transform the library, however, can make finding a study space more difficult during this busy exam preparation period.

To help you, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all the study spaces on campus.




More information
Use ask.monash to view answers or ask a question.
Visit Monash Connect or call +61 3 9902 6011 Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm.
View the Caulfield campus map (PDF, 0.1 MB).


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10 October 2016

Great tips for exam preparation

Exam time is creeping up, so (if you haven’t already) it’s time to focus on getting ready to ace them! This post will share some great tips for making the most of your revision time so you can feel confident and get those good grades. By Michelle De Aizpurua and Emma Price.



No-one wants to be cramming for exams the night before, and it’s definitely not a good strategy for doing well on your exams. Planning your schedule for study well ahead of time ensures you don’t have to cram, and this will also reduce your stress levels.

Sometimes just thinking about how much studying you need to do can seem overwhelming. You might not know where to start and so you procrastinate and put it off. Many students make a start and then get distracted looking at memes and social media. There’s even a whole movement around ‘procrastibaking’ (at least you can keep your energy levels up by eating yummy baked goods!).

How can you avoid the evil powers of procrastination? It can be a challenge. Try breaking down what you need to do into manageable chunks, as focussing on these smaller tasks will make the work seem less daunting. There are also some helpful apps and extensions you can download which will block your access to some ‘time-wasting’ websites. Try out StayFocused for Chrome, or ColdTurkey for all browsers. Read about some other hacks for blocking distractions, such as using a work only browser, on Hack My Study.


Revision strategies

Rote learning vs meaningful learning

Memorising everything by repetition (rote learning) is not the most effective learning technique. You need to do more than just read over your notes or textbook. A better approach is to develop a deeper understanding of each topic and the connections between them. This is called ‘meaningful learning’ and research shows it is a better method for your exam study. By developing an understanding of the meaning of what you are learning, rather than just memorising the information, you can then more easily apply the knowledge to new situations and use it to solve problems.

There are a range of different study styles you can use to help you develop a meaningful understanding of the information. Some ideas include:
  • Making posters of main topic information - either note form or diagram. Post them up where you will see them often. Go over them regularly and then test yourself.
  • Record yourself talking about a topic on your smartphone and then listen back to it on the train or walking.
  • Form a study group. Talking through unit topics with your peers can be a great way to expand your knowledge, work through trickier ideas together, and revise what you already know. The very process of discussing with others is another way to help your brain retain information, as well as giving you some friendly support during the exam period.
Mnemonics
These are scientifically proven memory devices for remembering information more easily. There are nine common examples of mnemonics, some of which you may already be using without realising it. Music mnemonics use a tune to help you remember information, just like the ‘ABC’ song for remembering the alphabet. In expression or word mnemonics, the first letter of each word you need to remember is used to make a phrase. A well known example of this mnemonic is for remembering the music notes on the lines of the treble clef - Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit. Other mnemonics involve making diagrams or models, using rhyme, note cards, images, outlines and connections between ideas.

Context and practice
Test yourself often. As well as any sample exam questions provided by your unit, you can also create your own tests by turning your unit topics into questions. You might want to try simulating exam conditions by getting rid of all distractions, putting away your notes and assigning a set amount of time to answer some questions on your topics.

One benefit of simulating exam conditions is that it utilises context-dependant memory. In psychology, this is the theory that your recall of information is improved if the context of how you learnt it is the same as the context in which you try to recall it. Godden and Baddeley (1975) demonstrated this concept by showing that people who learnt words underwater were more easily able to recall those words when they were underwater again, rather than on land. So, use this to your advantage and create a context that you can replicate in the exam to aid your memory! You could even try wearing a lucky sweater in study sessions and then wear it to the exam.

Visit the Library

If you are still feeling unsure about your exam preparation, attend a Library session. There are a few on offer and you can attend any session at any campus for free. Search for ‘exam’ on the class booking webpage.

And don’t forget a friendly Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser is available to speak with you at a drop in at the Library.

Above all, remember that effective study is about how much you learn, not how much time you spend hunched over your desk. So keep these tips in mind, and good luck!






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5 October 2016

A welcome resource: New LGBTQ database


The Archives of sexuality and gender : LGBTQ history and culture since 1940 gives access to a range of resources surrounding the social, political and health issues relating to the LGBTQ movement since the 1940, by Rod Rizzi

The Library has acquired a subscription to a new database that contains a wealth of information and resources across the social science, humanities and health subject areas.

The Archives of sexuality and gender: Part 1, LGBTQ history and culture since 1940 database provides access to articles on a broad range of political, social and health issues that have previously not been available as part of the mainstream media. It allows us to look back at stories as they broke from a perspective that has not always been available via our traditional and indeed existing databases.

Using the unique ‘Term Clusters’ visual wheel to look at related subject areas can uncover relevant information that a simple search may have overlooked.

The database content is drawn from more than 35 countries sourcing relevant material in the form of reports, policy statements, articles and the like. The coverage of the AIDS crisis is a particular feature, but equally the inclusion of material in relation to feminism and women’s rights are notable features.

Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity can be found by going to Library Search and the Databases A-Z page.


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4 October 2016

Access to Caulfield Library during exam study time - bring your ID card

Students and staff are reminded to bring their ID cards when visiting the library at Caulfield campus from next Monday.


Caulfield Library will be open to only Monash staff and students between 10 October and 11 November 2016, to help ensure they have the best chance to find a study space.

Students from all campuses who plan to use Caulfield Library over this period must carry their Monash ID. This will minimise inconvenience and ensure you are not delayed at the library entrance.

Seating in the library is much more limited this year because of the refurbishment. When completed in April 2017 the library will have double the number of seats it had in the past.

The temporary exclusion of non-Monash visitors was introduced a few years ago to alleviate the shortage of study space experienced at Caulfield during the exam study period, when use is at its peak.

During the exclusion period, CAVAL and ULANZ registered borrowers will be able to retrieve and borrow specific items, but will not be able to study in the library. Alumni and external fee-paying Library members will continue to have access by presenting their Library card.

The exclusion also does not apply to Sir John Monash Science School and Nossal High School students.

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3 October 2016

Turning study stress into study success!


As you approach the end of semester you may find that most of your work is due at the same time. Yikes!  Learning Skills Adviser Tami Castillo says not to worry, as there are many things that you can do to make study more fun and get through it.



You may have exams approaching fast. This can be stressful, especially if this is your first time, or if you haven’t done so well in past semesters. It is always worth remembering that you’re not alone.

Misery loves company

No one wants to be miserable alone. We say this in jest, but working with others who are in the same circumstance can make your studies less stressful, and more enjoyable. One thing you can do to be with like-minded people is to form a study group (see below for tips). Another good idea is to attend a library session on exam preparation, where we can share a few tips and strategies with you face-to-face. There are a few on offer and you can attend any session at any campus for free. Use the Library Class Booking System to see what’s available by searching using the keyword ‘exam’.

Form a study group

  • Study at uni can be a lonely business. Why not reach out to some people in your tutorial and form a study group? Ideally, a study group consists of 4 or 5 members… any more than that, and you’re looking at a party! There are many benefits to study in a group. For instance:
  • Improve your notes - compare lecture notes with group members and fill in any information or important concepts you didn’t quite understand.
  • Share your talents - each of us approach learning in a different way, and many of us have different strengths and weaknesses. By studying as a group, members can share talents and insights, and learn from each other
  • Provide a support system - forming a group is a great way to keep each other motivated and support one another. We are also more inclined to do our revision notes if group members are relying on you.
  • Cover more material - group work allows you to focus on more concepts, as multiple people can review more material compared to a single person working alone. Spread the work around so each person reviews a topic, and then teaches it to the rest. And if you want to improve your understanding of a topic, the best method is to nominate yourself to be the one to teach it!
  • It can make learning fun! - Studying with a group is a great way to liven up your study sessions. It can be very monotonous and draining to spend long hours alone. Studying in a group environment makes learning much more fulfilling and enjoyable.
To learn more about these tips and others for effective group study, go to: http://www.educationcorner.com/studing-groups.html

Your study group will contain a wide range of personalities, skills and knowledge in your group - cool! This means any areas that individual members think are weaknesses for them can be overcome by the members who are strong in those areas. Your strengths are not just an advantage for you - your teammates can also reap the benefits. Put your skills to use reviewing course materials. Put your group to the test by working on past exam questions together.

Revision - turn a boring chore into clever fun

In the table below, have a look at the column on the left - If a statement describes you and the way you like to work, take advantage of it by giving the method in the column on the right a try!

I like setting and meeting goals
Use a to-do list
I work best against the clock
I like to draw or doodle
Use mind maps to outline how to solve a problem or draw a picture of a concept
I like music
Write songs about important information that you need to remember….read more here!
I’m a night owl. I enjoy staying up late
Study when you are most alert and do mundane tasks when you are least alert
Solve questions from the textbook
A no-brainer
If there are few questions, turn chapter titles into questions then practise answering them - for example…

Chapter titles:
  • Managing in a global environment
  • Social responsibility and managerial ethics
  • Managing change and innovation
  • Motivating employees




(Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, & Coulter, 2012)


Questions:
  • What issues arise for managers in a global environment?
  • What is social responsibility and how do managerial ethics apply to it?
  • How are change & innovation best managed?
  • Why & how do managers motivate employees?



If you remain uncertain about how to be efficient and take joy in your academic work, don’t forget a friendly Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser is available to speak with you at a drop in.

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About the Blog

Welcome to the Monash University Library blog. Whether you are engaged in learning, teaching or research activities, the Library and its range of programs, activities and resources will contribute to your success. Here you will find useful information, ideas, tips and inspiration. Your comments on any of the articles are welcome.

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