Computer Science

Choose your examiner over course

– When revising prioritise subjects that are from “safe lecturers”. Check the past paper history! Is there little variation in question topics over the years? Are the questions primarily bookwork? Are the questions fundamentally easy or not.

Drop courses only when necessary

– Don’t choose your exam courses until exam term. One of the worst things you can do is pre-emptively drop courses for other courses that you are yet to take but “sound cool”.

Don’t run away from a course as soon as it gets theoretical

– Some of the best courses in terms of exam questions are those that are extremely theoretical. Just because the notation looks scary doesn’t mean the contents of the course is scary. Thats not to say that all theoretical courses are easy -> thats simply not true. Theoretical/Mathematical courses give you the ability to obtain an easy 20/20 provided you learn the material. The more wordy courses give you an easy 12 marks, but getting 20 is very hard.

Massively over-provision

– If you need a minimum of 5 courses for an exam, make sure you’ve learnt at least 7 (try for 8). You will encounter at least one rogue question every year, and you can minimise the probability of multiple occurrences by picking courses/examiners wisely, but its bound to happen to everybody. Be prepared! Its all too common for someone to go into an exam with 5 courses worth of knowledge, and being only able to answer 3 questions well. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend learning all 7/8 courses back to back, but instead use the revision technique referred to in (7).

Part IIs (Get your dissertation done early!)

– Seriously. Get it out of the way. Its such a headache when its hanging over you during exam time. Theres nothing worse than continually context switching between dissertation and revision.

Revise the right way!

– I’ve found the best way to learn is to quickly read through the notes to obtain an initial, rudimentary understanding following swiftly with endless past paper questions. Leave the most recent 2 or 3 years for nearer exam time (as they are probably the most relevant), but smash through all the others! Initially, don’t be surprised if you can’t answer any part of a question without looking at your notes, but this should change with the more questions you do. Not only do you learn how to answer exam questions, but you also learn the material that is most likely to appear in the exam, without having to waste your time learning stuff that most likely will never appear in an exam question.

– Obviously this method is only recommended for courses that are old (and thus have a large selection of *relevant* past papers to choose from). Content that has been added recently (and thus is yet to appear in a past paper) should be learnt independently.

Give yourself enough time

– Latest: start of Easter!