Spring is here and, along with the promise of long lazy holidays, it also brings that most dreaded of trials – the final exams. Whether you have worked hard all year long or are just emerging from your winter hibernation, getting a good grade and keeping a high grade point average starts with good final exam results. Unfortunately, many students just don’t know how to prepare for exams and often under-perform. We are here to set the record straight! Here are the five best tips for exam preparation.
Planning is Everything
Ever found yourself cramming the night before an exam with tons of work to go through and not enough time? This happens to everyone at some point in their academic careers. Don’t underestimate the amount you have to work through and remember that during the exam period, you will be writing and learning a number of different subjects and may not have as much time or energy as you think.
Start by creating a reasonable study schedule. Ensure that you only leave a couple of hours every day for studying over a long period of time rather than a short period of intense studying. Ensure that you have enough time to study everything before the exams. During the exam period, all you should have to do is revise.
Work Smarter not Harder
Reading whole text books and reams of notes just isn’t practical. Get a study group together and divide the text books into sections. Each group member must summarize the notes and pertinent points from the text books. Choose your study partners carefully; select people who will be reliable and thorough with their notes. You don’t want to lose out because your study group is lazy.
Understanding not Rote
Learning things by rote is much harder. Don’t memorize your notes, understand them. To do this read a section or lesson and then close your text book. Repeat the concepts to yourself or teach a friend, a pet or your house plants. Being able to talk through it will help you to remember.
Some rote learning is inevitable and in these circumstances you need to make a poem or use word associations to help you to remember. For example, if you have to memorize the parts of the eye (cornea, retina, iris and sclera), use the sentence; “Come Rain In Summer” to remind you of the names you need to learn.
Mix it up
Understanding your learning style is key to effective exam preparation. Ask your teacher or your tutor for help ascertaining your learning style. Adapt your materials to suit your learning style. For example, if you are a visual learner, make charts, mind maps and infograms to illustrate lessons. Watch videos and draw pictures to help you remember. Use highlighters and colors to flesh out your notes.
Get old exam papers from your teacher. This will help you to practice for the exams and will reveal gaps in your knowledge. It will also help you to understand the exam style your teacher has and to answer the exam questions effectively.
Eat well to ensure that your brain has the fuel it needs to perform well. get regular exercise to keep you sharp and try to get enough sleep.
Good luck for your exams from all of us at Tutor Doctor!
Note: This entry was originally published on April 1, 2013 on the Tutor Doctor Home Office Blog