Exam Preparation Tips
One of the most important tips when preparing for an exam is to take care of yourself the night before the exam and during the day of the exam. Drink plenty of water the night before and the day of the exam. Make sure you get enough sleep the night before the exam; at least seven hours of sleep is required to be alert enough to do well on the exam. Eat a good breakfast before the exam; if you skip breakfast, your brain hasn’t received any nutrition for 12-18 hours and your exam grade will reflect that lack of food. Being well-rested, well-fed, and sufficiently hydrated will allow you to concentrate on the exam, not on being hungry, tired, or thirsty.
No matter how much you’ve studied or how well you know the material, if you are hungry, tired, dehydrated, or distracted when taking an exam, your grades will not reflect your knowledge of the material.
You really shouldn’t rely on cramming as a way to study for an exam. The best way to learn the material is to review it after each class. This slower-paced method of studying gives your brain a better chance of absorbing and retaining the material. Better absorption of the material will lead to higher exam scores; an added benefit is less anxiety about the test because you already realize that you know the material thoroughly.
Not cramming doesn’t mean you shouldn’t study at all the night before the test. One way to make this study more effective is to ensure that you have everything you need at hand before you start studying. This means that your textbooks, notebooks, pencils, pens, computer, and anything else you might need should be on your desk or at the very least within 2 feet of your desk.
Make sure there are no distractions before you start studying. Some people can absorb material better with the radio playing, so don’t be afraid to turn on the radio if it helps you study. However, television and studying just don’t mix because your brain needs to focus on two things to the detriment of both. Take breaks as needed, and if you are thirsty or hungry satisfy those needs before returning to your desk.
Use 3 x 5 cards or flash cards as a quick, portable way to study. One added benefit of using 3 x 5 cards rather than pre-made flash cards is that presumably you created the 3 x 5 cards. You’ve learned the information or at least some of it just by writing out the cards, and when you use the cards to study you are reinforcing the same lessons you’ve already learned.