Tis the season for exams! Below, there are a list of tips and advice for exam preparation and academic success.

WEEKS BEFORE THE EXAM:

  • Establish a good sleeping schedule. Scientists have found that seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep is the best for maximal performance.
  • Keep a healthy diet. Eating the right foods have been proven to boost brain power and memory. To learn more about brain foods, check out www.fcss-fesc.ca/blog/192016brain-foods.
  • Exercise regularly. The Harvard Medical School found that physical activity not only keeps you fit, but also is able to “change the brain to improve memory and thinking skills.”
  • Like Andrews University said, “Study to recall the information rather than to recognize it.”
  • Have study goals. For example: Finish section #1 by…
  • Plan many short study sessions. Not only is this less stressful, but it is proven to be much more effective too.
  • Make study cards and notes using key words. Test yourself in different orders.
  • Make up your own exam questions.
  • Over-prepare — it’s better than under-preparing and doubting yourself.
  • If you don’t understand something or are struggling in a class, get extra-help or clarification. It’ll be worth it!
  • Have study groups. Being around supportive and similar-minded people will influence you to study hard and perform better.
  • If you work, try not to overexert yourself. In fact, the Colorado University recommends that you don’t work more than 15 hours per week.
  • Review, review, review! Reviewing will help you remember information. Like the Colorado University said, “Review to remember and remember to review!”
  • Take notes in class. Take special note of example problems, formulas, equations, and theories. After the lesson, summarize your notes and pick out the key terms.
  • Do your homework! It actually helps! In some cases, homework can equal 20% (or more) of your grade!
  • Look over previous exams or tests. The structure and questions might be repeated.
  • Know the basics of the exam. Ask an instructor to find out about the exam’s format, overall worth, etc.

BEFORE THE EXAM:

  • Get a good night’s sleep — seven to nine hours will do.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Wear a watch so you can always keep note of the time.

DURING THE EXAM:

  • Take deep breaths and stay calm.
  • Remember, a little stress isn’t a bad thing. Like the Andrews University said, “Use a little tension for motivation."
  • If there are key points you know you might forget, write them on the back of the test immediately.
  • Read the instructions carefully — many mistakes are often made from lack of attention to detail.
  • If you don’t understand a question, ask the instructor to re-word the question. Don’t try to interpret the question yourself or try to figure out hidden meanings — because there usually aren’t any.
  • If you can’t figure out the answer to a question right away, don’t stress over it and don’t re-read the question over and over again. Instead, mark it, move on, and come back to it later.
  • If you find two answers that look right, pick the better/ most obvious answer. Like the University of Michigan said, “Remember that the instructor is usually looking for the best answer."
  • Quickly scan through the test and estimate how much time to spend on each section.
  • If there is time, always check your work.

IF YOU HAVE TO CRAM:

  • Make a schedule. Prioritize your work and find out the main ideas of the most important things.
  • Make up and solve some questions that you think might show up on the test.
  • Instead of reading the whole textbook, read the introductions and conclusions, chapter summaries, and review questions at the end of each chapter.

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