1. Organize yourself
First and foremost, spend some time organizing both the material and the schedule you plan to follow when studying. You will probably find that some topics are more difficult than others and therefore, you would most likely have to spend more time reviewing them. Start early on with this task and make sure to (1) Review the material that is going to be evaluated at the exam, (2) Make sure you have enough notes and information on the topics covered, (3) Plan a schedule and decide when and how to study.
First and foremost, spend some time organizing both the material and the schedule you plan to follow when studying.
2. Study with a partner
For most people, it is extremely beneficial to count on a study partner. Studying with a classmate can help you discuss your ideas, clarify concepts and deepen your understanding of the topics that are going to be evaluated on the exam. To get the most out of it, make sure to pick a partner that has the same academic goals that you have, and who shares the same study habits. Techniques can include making flashcards, making presentations to each other, or making concept maps, for example.
3. Take care of yourself
This advice is always valid! But especially the day before the exam, make sure to get enough hours of sleep, to stay hydrated, to eat in a healthy way, and to be as relaxed as possible. Even though this is easier said than done, you can try to meditate, write, draw or talk with a friend to calm your nerves and clear your head. Whatever you try to study at the last minute and in a rush will probably not stick to your mind.
4. Know the type of methodology that will be used
Most professors follow a similar methodology for their exams, and sometimes they would let you know beforehand what method they will use. Each type of exam can help you get a clue on how to better prepare yourself; for an oral exam, for example, it could be useful to practice your answers out loud and to use flashcards. For a written one, you could prepare conceptual maps or small paragraphs with some potential answers. Whatever the methodology, it is important to always make sure to understand what you are saying instead of only repeating the words like a parrot. If you would like more specific advice for the type of exam, don’t be afraid to ask your professor!
5. Arrive early on the day of the exam
Make sure to sort out all of the practical matters beforehand. These include the day, time, place, and if you need to bring any extra materials (for example, a pencil or a ruler). Leave your house a bit earlier than you normally do, to avoid arriving late if any unexpected circumstances arise.
6. Keep up with the readings
For most classes, you will most likely have a list of materials for further knowledge. Try your best to keep up with the compulsory readings (if any), since a good source of the information to deeply understand a topic probably stems from it. Remember that if it’s compulsory, then it is needed to strengthen your knowledge and the professor will probably make up some exam questions based on the material.
Try your best to keep up with the compulsory readings (if any), since a good source of the information to deeply understand a topic probably stems from it.
7. Step up your note-taking game
When attending a lecture, try to do your best to understand the information while writing down any keywords or key sentences. Do not write down every single word the professor says. Instead pay attention to what they’re saying. Good notes will help you later to save up some valuable time when preparing for your exam.
The more you have exams, the better you will get at knowing what works for you and what you need to put more effort into. With these tips, however, you can have a good starting point. Good luck on exam season!
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