Exam Preparation Tips
Exams are just around the corner, and the time leading up to and including writing the exam can be a stressful experience. Writing an exam not only reflects the knowledge and understanding that you have acquired over a period of time, but also your ability to perform under pressure. Given that a large percentage of a final grade is often obtained from an examination score, it is important to prepare thoroughly for exams and also to remain calm as you write one. The following are some ideas to help you:
1. Allow enough time to study.
Don’t leave studying to the last minute. For most people, “cramming” is not the best way to approach an exam. Create a timetable outlining your study plan. Determine how much time you will need to spend studying each day and how much material you intend to cover.
2. Organize your study space.
The key is to minimize your distractions. So whether you are studying at home or at the library, make sure you feel comfortable and able to focus.
3. Review your class notes.
Read your class notes and summarize by highlighting and underlining. Flow charts and diagrams are also helpful when revising. Summarizing and re-summarizing helps you internalize information more effectively than reading the material. Closer to the exam you may find that your summaries/diagrams are condensed to one-page, as you rely more on your acquisition of the knowledge and less on your notes.
4. Organize a study group.
Studying with classmates provides the opportunity to work cooperatively to compare notes, brainstorm and discuss possible exam questions, and test each other on subject material.
5. Practice with old exams.
Previous exams are an effective tool. If available, they provide information about the format of questions, and are also a useful tool to practice timing yourself. You can also create your own exam-type questions to help you prepare. This will give you the perspective of the teacher and thus help you learn the material more effectively.
6.Take regular breaks.
When training for a marathon, you wouldn’t run 24 hours a day. Studying takes a similar approach. Studies have shown that is it helpful to take breaks regularly to assist in the long-term retention of knowledge. Each student is different, so find a study routine that works for you. Optimize your study time during the time of day when you are most productive and take more frequent breaks during your down time.
7. Plan your exam day.
Getting to the exam early will put you in a more relaxed frame of mind. Take the opportunity to briefly review the material in your mind. During the exam, read the directions carefully and begin with the easiest questions first.
8. During your exam be sure to keep track of the time!
9. Think positively and don’t second guess your answers.
Do you have study ideas to share? Feel free to post your tips!
Majury is a graduate from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Education as a secondary teacher. She enjoys learning and sharing new, innovative ideas emerging in the field of education.