Summary notes serve two primary purposes in preparing for your exam.
Firstly, notes are a critical study tools that can streamline and focus your learning and revision on the key areas of the course. Secondly, summary notes provide a powerful reference to have to hand in an open book exam.
There is no need to prepare your own summary notes – why waste precious study time! Instead, you should find a set that covers your course comprehensively and then get familiar with the content and layout of the notes you have. That way, you’ll be able to extract maximum benefit from the materials, without spending unnecessary time summarising and formatting.
Streamline your learning and revision
Using summary notes as you begin learning a course is a brilliant way to narrow your reading to the important and high value areas. You can use the summary notes to quickly determine if you have understood a concept – if it makes sense, you can move on quickly. Where you have not quite understood, the study notes will usually provide references to the main textbook to enable you to do extra reading. That way, you only read the detail on topics that are new or challenging, rather than the whole course.
You can also use the Study Notes as a reference when completing module questions and practice exams. The notes can provide a helpful reference as you move through the questions, building your confidence and speed. Certainly, building your exam technique is a critical part of academic success and is something that is developed over time.
Ace an open book exam
Open book exams present a unique challenge for students. Although you can take all of your books and notes in with you, the exam is often much harder and requires you to answer questions quickly and in more depth than if you were in a closed book exam.
This means it is critical to have good summary materials with you in the exam! You will have built a familiarity with your study notes while you were learning the course, which you can use to your advantage when in the exam environment. Where you are unsure of an answer, you can flip to the relevant page of your study notes and remind yourself of the key point. Good study notes will also include worked examples and calculations, which are extremely valuable when applying the course content to a more difficult topic.
Overall, good quality study notes are an investment that will set you up for exam success. The notes will enable you to study more effectively and efficiently, and provide an invaluable reference tool in an open book exam.If you are studying the CPA Australia Program – please check out these study notes on Stuvia. Or visit this Facebook page for more study tips.