Tips to Prepare for Exams
One unusual tip to prepare for an exam is to take care of yourself before the exam. Get plenty of sleep the night before the exam, drink plenty of fluids before and during the exam, and eat a good breakfast before the exam. If you are tired, dehydrated, or hungry during the exam you simply won’t be able to think as clearly as you need to and your grade on the exam will suffer.
Cramming for an exam is really not the best way to study. You should start at the beginning of the term by reviewing the material after each class session. This method allows your brain to absorb the material at a more relaxed pace, and this slower pace will help you retain more of the information for a longer period of time. The increased retention of information should lead to higher scores on exams as well as less anxiety about the test itself.
During the term, ask questions and get clarification from your instructor on concepts that you are having problems with. In some classes, this may also have an added benefit in that some instructors grade you partially on class participation.
Try to set up an area for studying where you won’t be interrupted. If you work well with music in the background, turn on the radio (but don’t watch television and try to study at the same time). Make sure that you have all the needed study material before starting to study. It disrupts your flow of thought if you repeatedly have to get up to go look for the required study materials.
Use flash cards or 3 x 5 cards for a quick way to learn information. If you use 3 x 5 cards rather than pre-made flash cards, this may have a double benefit because you are the one writing out the information to begin with. When you then use the cards to study for the exam, you are reinforcing the knowledge you gained by writing the cards. Another benefit of flash cards or 3 x 5 cards is that you can take them with you as a portable study aid.
When actually taking the exam, don’t rush through it. Go through it and answer the questions that you know the answers to first. Then go back to the questions that are causing you problems and spend an extra few seconds on each question.