Brace yourselves; exams are coming. A feeling of stress may now suddenly overcome you. This overwhelming feeling has happened to me many times in the past. I have had my share of lecture courses as a senior in the Sports Biology program, and with that comes many multiple-choice exams. We should all have a method for studying, so I want to share mine with you. As a tutor in the Academic Success Center, it’s my goal to get you as ready as possible for you classes. So when it comes to exams this semester, don’t stress, follow these ideas, and get prepared.
So let’s face it. Even though we know when exams are coming (it’s in your syllabus) we actually start studying about a week before exam day. That gives us seven days to get ourselves in the best position possible to ace the exam.
The first step is to review the study guide to get an idea of what the exam is covering. Most exams cover about three chapters worth of material, so our second step is to spend one day studying each chapter. Now, the way you review the material is key. Read through your notes carefully, and when you come across a topic that is difficult or unfamiliar to you, look it up in your textbook and read more about it. Spend another day reviewing all the chapters after you’ve gone through each chapter.
With the remaining days left before the exam, you should begin to place a greater amount of focus on your study guide. If you did not receive one, you could use the chapter outlines or make your own. When reviewing the topics on your study guide, try to explain the concepts out loud without looking at any notes. If you can do this, that’s great! If you can’t do it, or the words are at the tip of your tongue, go back to your notes to review and then try again. You’ll know you are ready for the exam when you can explain each topic on the study guide without looking at any notes. This means that you have truly learned the material.
Here are some tips. First and most importantly, don’t be a lone wolf. Work with your friends and ask your professor questions. Everyone thinks differently, so hearing your friends explain a concept will give you a different perspective. Contrary to popular belief, your professors do not want you to fail. Asking your professors for help allows you to stand out in a large lecture hall, and prove to them that you are a hard worker.
The second tip is to take plenty of breaks between studying. It’s been shown that spacing out studying helps you better encode the information into long-term memory. So check over your notes, catch up on the latest episode on Netflix, and then get back to work. My final tip for you is to start early. While studying for a week before an exam works for me, take a few more days if you need it. Take your time, be thorough, don’t stress, and you will ace every exam coming your way.