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.