Today I am going to share my tips on how to prepare for exams! Mind you, I have only ever taken math and science exams, but this year I have the whole shabang to handle. These are some of the tips and tricks I have and have collected from various sophmores, juniors, and seniors from my school!
The first tip is to sleep AT LEAST 8 HOURS A NIGHT! This is usually really difficult for me, I usually get 2-6 hours max each night, but this is so important during exams or for any test! I have found that the sleep the night before your test is important, but the sleep the day before that is EVEN MORE IMPORTANT! That is because sleep is cumulative, if you are sleep deprived one night, you literally cannot make up for it later. If possible, you want to try to aim for nine or ten hours per night.
The second tip is to make a study calendar! Print out a blank calendar of the month that your exams are taking place in; if you are an upperclassman in high school or are a college student, you may want to start studying even before that. Mark everything that you need to do in order to prepare for exams. For example, maybe three weeks before you need to make all of your study guides, so maybe you mark off that you can make your science study guide on Monday and your history study guide the next day. Also mark the dates of each test, when each teacher’s office hours are, and all of the study blocks and sessions you have planned. Be sure to add a few fun things to the mix too!
The third tip is to take advantage of the office hours your teacher makes available! These are the times that you can ask all of the questions that you didn’t have a chance to ask in class! Get the concepts that you can’t seem to grasp explained to you! Or have the information that you found to be confusing or difficult re-explained in a different way that will click better with you! Just be sure you don’t go into your teacher and wing it! Have a pre-made list of questions and things you need help with so that you don’t waste their time!
The fourth tip is to make study guides! Make a separate study guide for each exam that you will be taking and keep them apart, you don’t want to jumble things up in your head! I suggest color coding because then your mind will associate different concept with a color and it is easier not to confuse them. Say you were making a study guide for biology: then you might make information on cells blue and the information on macromolecules pink! Break up a subject into manageable, bite sized pieces! Do not, under any circumstances share or sell your study guides, or buy/borrow them from others! This is grounds for suspension or even expulsion at many schools! There is a fantastic website, www.quizlet.com, that is great for making flashcards!
The fifth tip is to create mnemonic devices to help you remember information. You can write songs or raps, put information to the beat of other songs that you like or that are very catchy! Associate information with things that it is related to or things that are similar to help you! Find images that assist you in visualizing concepts! Use humor, it is much easier to remember something funny! Use symbols and signs to aid you in your studying! Use your senses, can you associate information with an event or a scent or something you heard? You can also use movements and actions to help you, think of a dance or hand motion to help yourself out!
The sixth tip is to know what type of test you are taking! If you are taking a multiple choice, true/false, essay, document based, short answer, diagram, or even map tests, find out before hand! You can plan your study guides around which type of test each class is, some may be a combination. If it is an essay test, do a few practice essays on possible topics. If it is multiple choice, focus on the facts! So on and so forth.
The seventh tip is to plan fun things to do throughout the time you are studying and during the week of exams! Love to read? Make it a reward that for every hour you study, you get to take a break and read a chapter of your book! Love to play sports? Do the same thing except shoot some hoops! Love YouTube? Watch a funny or entertaining video every once in a while so that you can relieve some of the stress! As for the week of exams, you should only study two to three hours a night tops to avoid stressing and anxiety, as well as exhaustion! So in the spare time you have, go out with your friends! Go ice skating! Play a game of soccer! Grab a movie and some popcorn and have a movie marathon (but not too late, you need to sleep!)! You could even have a spa day or play your favorite game! Anything that will relieve the tension and brighten your day!
The eighth tip is to go with your first instinct. When you are a taking a test and a are not certain of your answer, go with your gut! Your first instinct is usually correct! Try to eliminate bad answers and get it down to fifty-fifty to increase your chances. If all else fails, the most common test answers are B and C! Follow your instincts and you will do better than if you second guess yourself!
The ninth tip is to use online resources to help better understanding! Cliff Notes and Spark Notes are easily accessible and can be very helpful if a book or piece of reading is proving to be hard to understand. You can also Google the names of characters or authors for a more in-depth description!
The tenth tip is to keep a positive attitude! As long as you studied hard and are prepared you will do great! Do go into your exams with the mindset that you are going to fail! Chances are, if you think that way, you probably will! Keep yourself calm and have a good outlook on the exam! Try to think happy thoughts and find a “happy place.” A happy place is a place you go in your mind as a way to calm your nerves and clear your head. Do whatever you have to to keep your spirits up! Post notes on the bathroom mirror or in the car to tell yourself that you are going to do great!
I hope these tips helped you all! Now go start studying and preparing for your exams! Don’t forget to eat a good breakfast each morning before the exam to keep you full and focused; avoid sugary, processed crap! Go for oatmeal, fruit, toast, eggs, bacon, or waffles! Om nom nom! Good luck!