How to make the most of...Exam preparation

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Exam prep can earn you valuable job skills-here's how to make the most of it!

With the pressure and stress of end-of-year exams and deadlines building, it makes sense to put the post-graduation job hunt on hold. Now is the time to prioritise your coursework to make sure you get the degree classification you deserve-but don't worry, you are still gaining valuable job skills that will improve you graduate job hunt.

Don't believe us? Here are a few ways you can make the most of your exam preparation to help you get a graduate job.


Any good university student knows timetables can help you stay on top of studying for exams and completing final coursework. Whether you prefer using detailed to-do lists, a calendar with scheduled blocks of time, or both, you are perfecting a skill which can help you in your job search.

When exams are over, create a similar timetable for job hunting. Focus on key areas of the application process like looking over job lists, updating your CV and industry research. By now, you should know if you are a morning person or not. If you work better at a certain point in the day, factor it into your timetable so you make the best use of your time.

Don't be afraid to mix it up and devote time to make your Facebook and Twitter accounts employer-proof, and think about using out-of-the-box ways to impress potential bosses such as YouTube.

Remember! Like your revision timetable, your job hunting plan only works when you stick to it.

Job Skills Earned: time management, scheduling, handling workloads, multi-tasking, working to deadline.

Keyword Prompts

The key to revision is condensing information into easily digestible bullet points which you can expand on in your exams-a system which also helps the job application process.

In covering letters and CVs, you will need to summarise your strengths into concise points which you can then expand upon in interviews. For example, you may not have room to list all your leadership experience on your CV so you condense it down to "leadership skills"-but you'll be ready with your list of experience when asked.

Job Skills Earned: written communication, ability to summarise key issues.

Exam Technique

If you're in your last year of uni, you might think this is the last time you'll have to sit an exam. We're sorry to say that might be not be the case.

Many employers adopt a range of exam-type tests to judge a candidate's suitability for a role. Psychometric tests (link) usually focus on general verbal and numerical capabilities, but occasionally these tests will evaluate specific subject knowledge.

Apply the same techniques you've developed over your university career to these exams. Do the simple things right-count the number of questions and available marks, highlight key words in the question and set aside time at the end to review your answers.

Job Skills Earned: comprehension, analytical ability, attention to detail.

Heed the feedback

Most formative essays are designed to give you feedback on how to improve for summative assessments. Listening to comments and revising your approach is also vital when applying for your graduate job.

You will not land every job you apply for (unfortunately), so it's important to learn from the feedback you receive from employers. If an employer tells you they are not convinced by your project management skills, get out there and get some relevant experience by taking on volunteer work. It is important to focus on making your next application better than the last one-so make sure you ask for feedback and heed it when it comes.

Job Skills Earned: revision, self-improvement, self-management.

As our lists of "job skills earned" shows, many of the techniques learned prepping for exams can be matched to the soft skills employers frequently look for. Able to meet tight deadlines? Tick. Comfortable managing changing workloads? Certainly. Thrives in a fast-paced environment? Absolutely! Honing your ability to keep track of time, get organised and stay disciplined will not only help improve your grades, it will help you land that graduate job.