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Thread: Stressed about exam

  1. #1
    TheDMan05
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    Stressed about exam

    I'm currently doing an MSc as a mature student. I have an exam on the 13th January and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to know. The lectures have been pretty pointless for the most part. They just seem to be introductions to the various topics, without much focus on the actual principles or what we need to know for the exams. The reading lists aren't much better, most seem to only be references for the very specific talking points of the lectures.

    It didn't help that the two 'reading' weeks we were given before Christmas were taken up by a difficult and incredibly stressful assignment, that had to be handed in on 23rd December. Everyone had problems with that.

    I've looked at past exam papers (which aren't supposed to be that representative of what to expect because many of the modules are different, and it's being written by different people, with a different format) and I barely know how to approach the questions. The questions seem to cover absolutely anything to do with a particular module.

    I've been feeling really stressed. I've emailed a university counsellor for an appointment. Initially that was for low self-esteem but it might just be exam stress now. I probably won't hear back for a few days, and so as not to cut into revision time, I've asked for an appointment for the morning of the day of the exam, which is in the afternoon.

    I've been doing exams nearly every year since I was a teenager so it isn't that I don't know exam technique. The questions seem so intensely focused on particular aspects of the topics and I only have two weeks to figure it out.

    I quit accounting years ago because of how stressed I got over it. You can imagine how I'm feeling about this course.

  2. #2
    rosecolored108
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    Definitely talk to a counselor about stress management.

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    RainyCoast
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    They just seem to be introductions to the various topics, without much focus on the actual principles or what we need to know for the exams. The reading lists aren't much better, most seem to only be references for the very specific talking points of the lectures.
    i'm not sure i understand your concern. it sounds like the introductions were given in lectures, and the reading list is intended to give you in-depth understanding of the specifics that weren't covered in class.

    it doesn't sound unusal to me, but maybe the lack of structure becaomes apparent in the context of your subject.

    have you studied for it yet? is there a study group or study buddy you could join to help orient yourself?

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    TheDMan05
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    Quote Originally Posted by RainyCoast [Register to see the link]
    i'm not sure i understand your concern. it sounds like the introductions were given in lectures, and the reading list is intended to give you in-depth understanding of the specifics that weren't covered in class.

    it doesn't sound unusal to me, but maybe the lack of structure becaomes apparent in the context of your subject.

    have you studied for it yet? is there a study group or study buddy you could join to help orient yourself?
    Most of the reading lists are just papers for very specific studies, they don't explain the actual principles of the topic. A few of the reading lists have whole text books referenced, with only one or two available from the university library, for nearly 30 students. That's if the book is available at all. Some of them aren't.

  5. #5
    catfeeder
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    Have you explained your concerns to the professor? If not, why not, and of so, what was his or her response?

  6. #6
    RainyCoast
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    very specific studies, they don't explain the actual principles of the topic.
    at that level, most of my understanding of topics came from very specific studies. don't underestimate those, i found them much more valuable than any textbook in both my master's programs (also mature student).

    A few of the reading lists have whole text books referenced
    this also sounds common to me. how early before the exam did you get the learning list? i would seriously check any student sites and online groups from your program where people share resources. many textbooks can be found in free pdf online-- and are you sure that all of the ones listed are necessary, or just advised? don't be intimidated by the number of referenced textbooks, most concepts are usually repeated and as you finish the first textbook you mostly just skim through the remaining ones and add bits and pieces that complement your understanding.

    i assume mature student means what it means where i live- you're back to school while also probably working full time and managing other responsibilities so it may be that the stress you feel stems from being overwhelmed with the tasks and deadlines. i found regular consultations made things a lot easier--because the curriculum for mature learners may not be as organised and anything that helps you get some structure is welcome, and i got very helpful tips in reading through my material effectively and speedily. my consultant also had great advice for retaining information and tricking the memory curve with scheduled revision.

    it's okay OP, set up consultations, set up study sessions and join study groups. let us know how it goes.

    do you have anxiety otherwise?

    p.s. it may sound juvenile but...have you looked up studyblogs in the same field on tumblr? the students at work are hooked on the community.

  7. #7
    TheDMan05
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    I'm feeling a little better. I've made some progress through a few modules but I'm sure I don't know enough about the ones I've looked at so far. I still have to learn a lot of stats and coding on software called R as well.

    The exam is on the 13th and I'm not back at the university until then.

  8. #8
    catfeeder
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDMan05 [Register to see the link]
    I'm feeling a little better. I've made some progress through a few modules but I'm sure I don't know enough about the ones I've looked at so far. I still have to learn a lot of stats and coding on software called R as well.

    The exam is on the 13th and I'm not back at the university until then.
    You don't have the phone or email address of the professor to get clarification about your concerns?

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    TheDMan05
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    Quote Originally Posted by catfeeder [Register to see the link]
    You don't have the phone or email address of the professor to get clarification about your concerns?
    I'm not going to do that. Most of the modules have written aims for what we should understand. I've gone through three of the modules now and I should have time for stats and R over the next week.

    Frankly, my mind has gone to the awful assignment we had to do. I didn't write a good report for that work, so I'm crossing my fingers that I've actually passed it.

    Also, the counsellors don't have any slots available for that morning. Though I probably wouldn't talk to them about exam stress now.

  10. #10
    TheDMan05
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    The exam's tomorrow. I'm not as anxious as I was a few weeks ago, but I've never been this nervous about an exam (I've done at least 30 in the last 15 years).

    It doesn't help that our Course Director emailed us all on Monday with the wrong location for the exam. If I hadn't spotted that it was different to another location we received in December and queried it with him, we might all have missed it (it isn't the first time something loke this has happened; in our first week we were all sent to the wrong lecture hall for a safety course, which we now all have to book up and do in our spare time).

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