The Best Tips That I Used to Get Through Exams in Polytechnic

The Best Tips That I Used to Get Through Exams in Polytechnic

By avatarJordan

GPA 4.0 101 

Most of you will go into poly with a mindset that poly life is full of freedom and you will get good grades even if you don't attend lectures. 

Well, I have experienced it myself and can tell you how stressful poly is. 

In secondary school, when you slack off during classes, your teachers are there to guide and aid you with any questions you have. However, unlike in secondary school, everything in poly is less rigid. You have to learn how to be very independent.  

And I'm sure all of us will feel this at least once in your poly life...

Have a clear overview of your subjects. Before school starts, take a good look at the modules you'll be going through and read the overall briefs to have an idea of what you will be expecting for the term or semester. After reading through, it would give you an outline of the percentage of each project/test. You would have a better idea of which project/test to focus and spend more time on.

Keep track of work assigned to you as well. Be it laptop/notebook/phone, having a ‘To Do List’ to remind you on the datelines of your assignments is of utmost importance.

Take Down Notes

Lecturers drop hints on areas which could be tested during your examinations, especially when your papers are nearing. Make sure you jot them down, so when it comes to revision, you will be able to remember what the hints are.

Remember that you are not the only one in the lecture hall. Therefore, if you find that the lecturers are moving at a fast pace, just use your phone to snap a picture from the screen and copy it down after the lecture, to prevent disrupting the cohort.

Despite that, I do recommend you to take notes by hand as you tend to process and reframe the information better. In contrast, laptop note-takers tend to write down what the teacher says word-for-word, without first processing the information. As such, students who take notes by hand perform more favourably when it comes to tests and exams.

Clarify Your Doubts 

As cliché as it can get, don't leave any doubts you have unanswered. Don't be shy to ask questions in class! Nevertheless, if you are an introvert like me, you can wait until the end of the lesson before asking your teacher for guidance. Don't wait till the exam is around the corner before you start panicking as it will be too late!

Book consultations with your tutors early. Show effort and determination are by preparing a set of questions and before meeting your tutor for the session to be productive. Go with a small group of friends, so that you can benefit from their question as well. It is imperative that you maintain a good relationship with your tutors! 


Poly is more towards a self-motivated learning environment. Be prepared for every graded assessment and quiz. Remember that every test score is accumulated to your final GPA. It would undoubtedly affect your chances of entering a local university and getting a job in the future.

Be independent and take responsibility for your own actions. Getting poor results are inevitable if you decide to slack off. Remember that your future is in your own hands! You have to work hard to be accountable to yourself and your parents. 

Be Consistent

Do well in your first year as it will be the benchmark for the rest of your poly years. In secondary school getting a C is really common. But in poly, there is a difference in getting either an A and a B+. It will inevitably have a significant impact on your GPA. Being consistent also includes doing your tutorial weekly on time. This is to ensure that you understand each topic well. Remember that tutorials are the only chance you get to practice. 

Therefore, being consistent is very important to ensure a good GPA. 

Time Management 

Polytechnic will give you loads of freedom. Taking on extra CDS/electives/modules, joining many CCAs, signing up for different camps, etc. are some of the commitments that you will have. After school, your friends might even ask if you want to hang out or have dinner together. Others might also have other obligations, such as relationships or part-time jobs. 

Nevertheless, do remember that the main purpose is to do well, should you plan to further your studies in a good university. Learning how to schedule your time well and planning your day in an organised manner is essential for maximum productivity. 

When it comes to studying, electronic devices could be a huge distraction. Do yourselves a favour: Turn off your devices and keep them away for a few hours. This would prevent any undeserving breaks. Multitasking makes you less productive, more distracted, and dumber. Studies have shown that people who claim to be good at multitasking aren’t actually better at it than the average person. Effective students focus only on one thing at a time. Thus, put your phones in a box and buried them away!

Doing work at the thirteenth hour, and looking for some miracle, will most likely not salvage the situation. As mentioned, you have to learn to be consistent in studying. Last minute work can be extremely stressful, and you would not have sufficient time to remember everything. 

Remember to avoid this common mistake and you should do fine for your poly life.  

Find A Studying Style That Suits You

Some of us study better by writing down notes. Some prefer to memorize through constant repetition, while others remember better by hearing. But I am sure that many of us are last-minute geniuses. Using only a week to study a whole semester-worth of information. This is due to the fact that we tend to be too busy with project work leaving only a week or two to study for our Final Year Exams. 

Thus, ensure that you find which way works for you!

Past Year Papers (PYP)

Do all the past year papers you can find as most questions are repetitive. Make it a habit to do at least three papers. Try your best to score an A, without referring to your notes or the answers. Your school library should provide you with lots of PYP which you can photocopy. There is no harm in doing more practice.

Take Breaks 

While you may think it's best to study for as many hours as possible, this can actually be counterproductive. A 2008 University of Illinois study found that the brain’s attentional resources dropped after a long period of focusing on a single task. It decreased focus and hinders performance. However, with brief diversions, the study found, that breaks significantly increase one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods of time. 

After that few hours of studying, remember to take a well-deserved rest. But, ensure that when you are studying, you are free from any distractions. Fifteen minutes of studying and rewarding yourself with an hour of break is not the way to go. The ideal formula for perfect productivity is to study for 52 minutes and taking a break for 17. 

Everyone's different, therefore, develop a study routine that works for you. If you study better in the morning, start early before taking a break at lunchtime. Or, if you're more productive at nighttime, take a larger break earlier on so you're ready to settle down come evening. 

Take Care of Your Health

Most of the students complain that they’re constantly tired and can’t focus in class. Remember that physical health is the foundation of academic excellence. 

Having eight hours of sleep a night is ideal! 

What you eat matters too! It’s the usual advice, eat regular meals, drink 8 glasses of water a day, restrict your intake of processed foods, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, cut down on sugary drinks. And by doing these things and you’ll feel more alert throughout the day. 

Additionally, having an adequate amount of exercise is important as well. You’ve heard it before: Exercise at least three times a week, for at least 30 to 45 minutes each time. Exercising enhances your memory and thinking skills, as proven by research. So make exercise a priority, and you’ll get better grades.

Set Realistic Goals

It is not possible to achieve instant success. You got to be realistic about your grades and goals. If you are not a genius or a highly intelligent student, you most likely have to work hard for good grades. Although it may not be simple, try your very best to keep your GPA as high as possible. 

Take small and progressive steps, and you will reach your ultimate goal eventually. You can't expect to get an A in a module when you got F for the related module in the previous semester. Sometimes you may not see improvements, worse still, see your grades deteriorate. It might be due to careless mistakes, a wrong studying method or conceptual errors. You need to spot your own problems and correct them. 

Nonetheless, never give up and stay optimistic! Only then, you will see your goal. 


That’s the end of my article. Keep in mind that these are just my personal opinions! Despite all that I've been through, I'm still thankful for all the experiences that I've had for the past three years. I hope you've found this guide useful. After adhering to these tips, you’ll become more disciplined, organised, responsible, and self-motivated. These traits are vital for long-term success even after studying!

#exams #poly #tp #sp #nyp 

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