Many of us students or reviewers alike become so perplexed when examinations soon come, and at times we panic because we have not truly prepared for it. We cram and at times we become so blanked out we cannot even answer our test questionnaires. So, how do you truly prepare for an exam?
Here are some few tips to help you prepare for the next academic battle of your life:
1. Prepare ahead of time. There is no better substitute than reading your notes early so that you would be better prepared for the exam. Not only will you be more familiar with the terms but it will give you more confidence knowing that you have prepared for it in the first place.
2. Take down your own notes. To each his own, it is really not advisable that you borrow somebody else's notes since they may have their own style in taking down the notes or a different appreciation of the facts from your own. Besides, writing them down will better aid your memorization skills.
3. Use tools in reviewing for your exam. You can use highlighters to give a word an emphasis, or mnemonics to better remember things that are enumerated.
4. Join a study group. This is a great way for you guys to have a good exchange of ideas. It will also better improve your memory work and lighten your burden at the same time since you have other people doing other parts of the leg work for you!
5. Relax. A few days before the exam, try to relax. Go out with friends or play a video game just to let off some of the stress and the tension. This will make your mind fresher and relaxed for the mind boggling exams.
6. Eat well and sleep right. C'mon guys, you do not go partying all night and get drunk the night before your exams and expect to pass it now, would you? That would simply be serving your own failure on a silver platter don't you agree? And it is simply the most stupid thing you can do before an exam. So reserve the partying energy for later. Eat well and try to get a decent sleep.
Don't be lazy. Success does not favor those who do not aim and work hard for it. Do your part and for sure you will be ready for any kind of exam out there. After all, success will be right at your fingertips if you choose to seize the moment!
How to Prepare for an Exam
Preparing for exams can be difficult for a variety of reasons. These tips can help you be focus yourself (mentally and physically) while studying and during the exam.
Ask Yourself These Questions:
- How long is the test? How much time will I have to complete the test?
- How many questions are there?
- What is the point value of each question?
- Do I need to split my time between multiple choice and essay answers?
Successful Test-Taking Strategies
- Answer the questions you know first.
- Answer the rest of the questions making sure the exam is complete before you turn it in.
- Reread your answers carefully.
- Learn from your incorrect answers. If your exam is returned to you for you to keep, review your incorrect answers and study those concepts in more detail.
How to prepare for exams
The most important thing any student can do to prepare for exam is to start early. The days of studying for an exam on the bus going to school are over. Even if you got A's this way, it's not going to work very often with college material. College courses require far more effort.
- Start preparing for the next test the day after you take the prior one. Daily preparation is crucial. At a minimum, review material once every week between exams.
- How much time is needed? The classic question. Some recommend 2-3 hours outside of class for every hour of class time. In some cases homework problems will require this much effort. For a straightforward lecture course try the following:
- Every day before class, preview the material for 15-20 minutes.
- Attend every lecture. Seems simple but it's the biggest mistake students make.
- Take good notes. Learn how.
- Spend another 20-30 minutes after class going over the notes.
- Use this time to get any confusing points cleared up in your head; much better now than later. This will make later exam prep. MUCH easier.
- Once a week, review the material to get a more complete overview of the
Preparing to take an exam:
If you've been keeping up on everything on a daily and weekly basis you're in good shape when it comes time to get serious about preparing for an exam.
The first thing you need is a plan. You need to answer some questions:
- What is my schedule like during the week of the exam?
- Do I have other exams or papers due?
- Will I have all week to prepare or will I have to study over the weekend?
- How many pages of notes are there?
- How many chapters do I have to read?
All of these questions will help you answer one basic one: How much time will I need? The answer will depend on how much work you have done so far. It's a crucial question because the next step will be to come up with a plan.
Start with with the day one week before the exam. That's the first day to start studying in earnest. Literally plan out how many hours you will spend each day studying until the exam. Make a schedule and stick with it. Be sure to leave time for group study or review sessions. Also break up the material in to parts and cover a little each day. Consider these questions:
- How much material will I cover each night?
- How much time will I spend studying with a friend?
- When are the review sessions?
- Will the Prof. or TA be available to answer any questions that come up?
Once you have a game plan it's time to get to work. There is no one way to go about this. Remember is important to come up with a system that works for YOU. Here's a suggested plan of action:
Get a blank piece of paper and outline the material you need to study. This helps develop a "big picture" overview of the material. Start with big topics and leave room for subtopics. Fill in the information as best as you can. Get another sheet of paper and start over if necessary. Once you see all the units of information in front of you it will be easier to organize your studying. This will help you with the next step.
Break the material into smaller chunks and study each one. Only once you understand each one should you move on to the next. Do this part alone in your quiet study place. This is when you start to memorize the information you'll need later. Write down any questions that you may have.
The next step is to work with someone else to clarify anything that's confusing. Work with others, go to review sessions, see a tutor, or work with the professor or a TA. At this point it's important to make sure that everything is clearly understood. This is crucial. If this step is skipped then you're left with trying to memorize hundreds of useless factoids. It will never mean anything to you later.
Now it's time to put the information into your brain for retrieval. If you've been working all along you will already remember much of it. Make sure nothing is left out. Review the tips on memory. Many students focus on this step exclusively. It's called cramming. Just say no.
This next step is not needed by everyone but it's useful if you are having trouble with the course. You've been studying for hours and hours but, do you really know anything? Try working with someone else who will ask you questions about the material. If you can answer and explain concepts without too much effort then you're in good shape. Usually this help to expose areas that require more attention and study.
If the previous step went well then all you have left is to work on weak areas and a general overview the material. If you didn't do well explaining the material you'll need another round of steps 4 and 5. Hopefully you left time for this in your study schedule.
If you planned well and kept up with the work there should be little anxiety the night before an exam. If you started late or waited to get questions answered then you'll be busy the night before. This will add extra stress and you'll likely make stupid errors on the exam. At the very least you'll be more susceptible to getting sick which will worsen your situation.
The only thing that should be going through your mind the night before is a sense of confidence. It's ok to be a little afraid or anxious but not panicky.