How to Effectively Prepare for an Exam

 Examinations are one of those things which many students don’t want to think about. Some have even argued that exams do not serve as an accurate representation of students’ comprehension of the subject matter and other very interesting, and maybe valid arguments which we won’t mention here. No matter what is said or done, in our society today, taking exams is inevitable and there are several ways to study you can adopt to ensure you succeed. The very first of my exam tips for students is this: You can pass any exam you set your mind to.

Build a good Foundation

There are certain things which in your academic journey will serve as a foundation to your overall and final performance. We may call them the very foundations of exam preparation. Preparing for exams is not something you do a few days to the set date or period, but something you begin to do even before you start the course. To get the best results, carefully follow the exam tips for students intimated below.

Take stock of your Syllabus

Studying the course outline and syllabus to find out when each assessment will be given and how much work would be tested in each of these exams is vital. It helps you remain focused and motivated to prepare for your exams. You should know in what week you will be tested and begin intensive revisions at least a week to that time. Being mindful to cover all the relevant material in that period of time puts you in a better situation with your exam preparation. Usually, students wait until the day before an exam to try and cram all the knowledge into their memory, which is always a very futile attempt at exam preparations.

Pay solid attention during class time

This is one of the most effective exam tips for students. The advantages of being attentive during class periods are immense. Being an active and interactive learner during class time means one thing for starters; you actually get to understand the course content at the appropriate time, giving you a head start when it comes to time for revision of course work. A student who doesn’t pay attention in class has a double portion of work afterwards. And while others are revising and perfecting their knowledge of the subject matter, they will find themselves struggling with understanding the concepts of the subject matter. During classes, teachers usually say things which may not even appear in their lecture notes, but might be tested on, as well as hinting on the most important parts of topics which will help in exam performance.

There are things you can do to ensure that you pay attention in class and the first step is not sitting together with those who don’t. Sit at a good location, avoid distractions and discussions, ask questions and keep questioning in your mind. It goes without saying, but for the record, this is one of the most effective study tips to use in preparation for your exams.

Take careful and proper notes.

Taking notes during lectures is a skill that not many students have perfected or even consider important. It is a fact that taking notes while in class not only provides you with reading and revision material but gives you a better chance of recalling the information in the long term. This means by direct implication that the more you can note down, the better. There are lots of things; important things which teachers will mention but as an aside, or fleeting thought during their lectures. It may be an interesting application of the subject matter, a couple of exam tips for students, or something they forgot to include in their lecture notes. Having a ready pen and an attentive ear ensures that you note down all such important things which will prove to be to your advantage in the long run.

It is important to not also let taking notes distract you from the very reason you take notes; the lecture. Pay careful attention and write effective notes. Take a short time after the class to revise your notes, preferably immediately after the class, as this reinforces your understanding of what was covered in that class. 

Study your course work daily and make it part of your routine.

Most of the times, studying is seen by students as something you do when exams are upon them or when they are just plain forced to do it. In life everything comes at a cost, and no success comes without discipline in any field. So if you are looking for ways to study effectively, start with studying consistently. This has a profound effect on your mindset because a student who does their homework most of the times is not worried about the exams. You get to cover the material you ought to cover in the set time, and when exam time draws nearer, you have no extra stress, as you simply follow your normal reading schedule, adding maybe an extra hour or two for general revisions. Keeping a consistent study time ensures that you cover the study material at the appropriate times and that you make progress everyday. You can get someone to remind you, if you are still building the habit. You could also set it up as appointments on your schedule with the maximum priority. These are the practices that you need to maintain through the time of your course and they play out seriously on your overall performance.

Study practices that boost your effectiveness

It is good to study, and to study hard, but it is more important to study smart. There are certain effective study tips which go a long way to improve your exam preparation activities. They concern mainly your study practices, which will determine how much you can get from your time spent studying.

Always organize your study environment before you begin

It is important to study in an atmosphere and environment that does not pose a threat to your concentration on your studies. A noisy environment will simply lead to a continuously interrupted study routine, causing constant distractions. You need to choose a place that is free from noise and keep it clean and organized before you begin to study. This ensures your concentration and mindset is ready for studies. You can use a public library as a good study location if you are not chanced to live in a house with a quiet neighborhood. Otherwise, you can study in your room while at home.

Set aside your phone and other devices.

Having your mobile phone, computer, and other gadgets switched on and on-line while you study can be a very effective source of distraction. If you don’t initially turn these things off, you will have to constantly break your line of thought to give your attention to your gadgets for one reason or the other; an incoming message from a friend, or an email from one the services you may have subscribed to, or even notifications from Facebook; while you may consider them important, they are not as important as your studies at that time. You must set your exam preparation as a priority, something which should not be interrupted for any reason whatsoever. Only then can you maximize the use of your study time, to be sure to meet your set targets and cover the material your study program has designated for the day. Also, constantly giving in to distractions will totally break your concentration to the point where you will take much longer to grasp concepts which should have been done in much shorter time.

You can put your phone on airplane mode, to completely turn off any form of distraction, or even turn it off. If you absolutely must use your phone, disable applications which will constantly be a source of such distractive interruptions. Using a computer usually is great as a study aid, especially when doing research online. If you must use it, be sure to stay off websites which are unrelated to your work at the moment. To be efficient, keep all of your attention on the books for that time period.

Always study in a well lit and ventilated room.

Make it a priority to always have your study space well lit and ventilated. This keeps your eyes from being stressed and keeps away the feeling of exhaustion. When you study, your environment will have an impact on your mindset and feelings at the moment. That is why classrooms are always well lit and ventilated. It makes for a more conducive atmosphere and keeps sleep a mile away. A lot of people cannot help but sleep whenever it is time to study. If this happens to you, check out your study environs. You may only need to ventilate the place and provide proper lighting while studying.

Avoid Television sets or any visually captivating source of Unrelated information.

Keeping the Television off while studying may not be a problem for most, but some people have grown to become inseparable from their television sets. They turn it on the moment they walk into the room, and it only goes off when they are leaving the house. If you are studying, there is a very high chance that you are using your eyes, which is feeding your brain the info you need at the moment. Having the television on at such a time is simply creating unnecessary distractions which won’t play out to your advantage in any case. In the rare event that you are studying by watching an educative movie or documentary, then please by all means, let your television set be on!

Music or No Music?

Research has shown that certain individuals experience improved performance in the memory when they study along with music, while it actually reduces retention in others. There are some who will perceive even the slightest sound as noise, while others will not be able to read and focus properly without music. If you indeed enjoy listening to music while you study, be sure not to play music with lyrics that draw your attention too much. Classical music has been found to be the most soothing while people study. So if you must have music while you study, you can play some classical music, knowing that there will be no words to distract you while you study along.

How to organize your Study time

Now that we have elaborated on some study practices that make you more productive, we will look at several ways to study, in order to get the most out of your exam preparation efforts.

Stay focused on your set study targets

When preparing for exams, you need to be decisive and set exact targets for each of your study periods. You will need to clearly state the topics and material you need to cover in that period. Analyze the work you have set for yourself, and start with the easiest, so that you are not exhausted by the difficult ones.

This is one of the most effective study tips. A guided study session always yields better results than one which is random and without set targets. Chances are that those who do not carefully plan their study content would in the long run, miss certain parts of their syllabus by simple neglect.

When following your study target, by the end of the session, you can easily analyze yourself to see if you managed to meet up to your study plan. This will help you reorganize your study schedule if you find yourself going slower or faster than you anticipated. Also at the end of each week, you can design a daily study target for the individual days in the next week. There is a sense of urgency that sometimes makes people think the time spent organizing your study schedule is time wasted, but it is very doubtful that there are better ways to study than setting precise targets, and striving to keep them.

Reproduce your notes in different formats

When you have studied your coursework, one of the most effective study tips you can apply to increase your retention is to write down those things which you have studied. It does not necessarily mean that you recopy the notes out again and again. It could be profitable but it is not the best way. If you just try to recopy the exact notes you have been given, you will find that the effect is that you end up memorizing the words, which will be ineffective in long term memory retention.

Rather you may decide to write down concise summaries of the study material, covering all the necessary points, and capturing the theme of what the notes convey. In this way, you not only are testing your knowledge but creating new revision material which would be easier to understand, and will take less time to cover, when you want to later do a total recap of all that you have been studying during a particular week or period of time. At such points in time you will see the importance of summarized notes.

Test your knowledge of the subject matter

Often times, many students will only realize in the examination room that they did not fully understand certain concepts. This should not be the case. You should personally test your own understanding of the subject matter by asking yourself questions about your study material, taking time to answer these questions and evaluating your own answers. This is one of the most effective ways to study. You can also take past question papers, and at intervals, answer them. Be sure not to ignore past assignments as most teachers also bring exams from assignments. You can evaluate yourself on the ease with which you can provide the answers and your speed and accuracy, which are all very important pointers to consider while taking a test. You will find that as you answer more and more questions, you will be improving in your study ability, as you know exactly what to be looking out for while studying, as you will know the kinds of questions that are usually asked and the pattern it normally follows.

Do everything in your power to Make your study time efficient

There are certain effective study tips which will make your study time more effective, and we will stipulate them here.

  1. Choose the right study time: The time you set aside to study will partially control the results of that study. There is always a time which is the very best choice. You will need to study your daily activities and identify the times when you have the most energy and your mind is fresh; these times are usually in the night time or in the morning. You cannot just select a time because nothing interesting is usually happening at that time and expect to get the best results. If you must be effective, select times when you will be fresh, even if some other thing occupies that time. You must prioritize, according to importance, the things that take your best times, and the most of your energies. In this way, you not only apply your concentration and effort, but you make sure that that concentration is at the highest and your effort at strongest. If your daily schedule is filled up with necessary things at such moments, as would be the case if you are a self-sponsored student who needs to work at that time, you can create time for study, by sleeping earlier. You can then wake up earlier and study. The time you choose to study is so important, because it will determine not only if you will enjoy it, but the results as well

  2. Readjust your Study techniques to fit you and your Subject as well: There are those who are visual learners, who learn faster by watching images and films. There are others who prefer reading plain old text. Some do better with audio follow up. You may understand better when you read your study material out loud. Get all the necessary accessories you will need to facilitate your understanding. You can also get someone to help you if you need help with flashcards or other things. Whatsoever you need to do, to adjust your study system which will effectively improve your study efficiency, just do it.

  3. Find someone you can help: Yes, that’s right! Find someone to tutor. There is something about teaching others and trying to explain things to others that widens your understanding about the subject matter. Even in cases where your knowledge base is not so wide, you’ll realize as you go on to explain and teach others, that your expertise of the concepts will be cemented in your memory. Many people are always keen on asking for help, rather than offering it. If you can follow this rule when preparing for exams, you will realize that the statement “It is more blessed to give than to receive” is a fact, and a very rewarding one at that. Getting people who will be willing to receive your help at first might be difficult because it means you will have to study ahead of your mates, but if you can make the effort, then be rest assured that preparing for exams just got a whole lot simpler for you!

  4. Don’t give yourself a hard time: Learning without play, they say, makes Jack a dull boy. This is one of the most powerful exam tips for students. Don’t try to over do it. You need to understand how the body functions, and how the mind functions. There is a reason why all school systems have an instituted break period. This is because the body and mind need time to rest, to work efficiently. Arrange your study schedule such that you don’t get too stressed and your mind remains apt to learn throughout your study period. preparing for exams is more enjoyable this way; education is definitely not war.



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