Preparing for an exam can be stressful and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s no need to stress out or cram. By doing a couple simple things ahead of time, you can ensure that you are confident and ready for anything that comes up on the test.
Read your notes. You are going to study your notes. Start with the most basic information. So, if you’re studying an art history unit on impressionism, make sure you know what impressionism means. Who were the most famous impressionists at the time?
- Ask yourself, who, what, where, when for each theme/subject matter that you are supposed to know for the test.
- You can look up information online to study from, but the best information to study from is the information presented to the class because the answers will be derived from your classroom materials. Sometimes information on the internet can vary from the information that you are presented in class.
Take notes while you study. Yes, take even more notes. You can highlight and underline the information as well, but writing the information down really helps you retain it better. Make sure to write down concepts that you are struggling with or are having a hard time remembering.
- Break down complex subjects into steps or parts. For instance, if you are trying to learn the order of historical events, list out each event that happened in the order they happened. For instance, first Linus Pauling discovered DNA, then he was awarded a prize. Write down the time frame and the events that influenced each happening. Knowing these side notes should help you to recall information because they increase your level of understanding.
Review your syllabus. The syllabus is an outline of everything that you should have learned over the course of the class. It’s a good place to start to understand major ideas and topics that you should be learning from the class. Review it and highlight the titles and subheads. These are the sections that you’ll need to at least review to make sure you understand the big ideas behind the topics.
- Some teachers write down the page numbers or chapters that each section of the syllabus pertains to in your book. Take note of those pages because you should definitely review them.
Write down the major topics and themes that you pulled out of the syllabus. Then, go through your notes to see if you have any notes at all on those topics. Once again, if you don’t, you should ask someone for notes on those topics, and re-read the sections in the book pertaining to those topics. Anything outlined in the syllabus is usually “fair game” for test material
Review study guides and sections. In some books, each chapter has a short review or summary. This is a great place to quickly review and get a gist of a concept. Of course, if you have no idea what the summary is referring to or you need more details to jog your memory, refer to the study guide in the back of the book. Then, re-read those specific chapters or selections in the book that you were having trouble remembering.
- You might be able to find a study guide online for the material that you are studying if you are not able to get one from your teacher.
Re-read important selections of the textbook. All of the titled sections of the book from your syllabus should be re-read so that you can pull out important information. While you re-read these sections, keep in the mind the major concepts that you’re supposed to be learning from those sections of the book. Write down important details as you read.
- Note the chapter titles and section titles as you read. They are a dead give away to the major concepts that are covered in those sections.
Do practice questions. This is especially helpful for subjects such as math. Practice doing the questions in the book that you were assigned for homework. Do extra questions in the back of the book. Re-do questions that you got wrong, and try to figure out why you got them wrong. Do practice questions until you feel more comfortable with subject matter.
- If you still have more time before your exam, ask for assistance either from a teacher or a friend.
Above all, make sure get enough hours of sleep before the examination day and other subsequent days. Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Goodluck!