Preparing for a college exam can seem like the hardest thing in the world: 44.9% of college students report higher than average stress levels.
That’s why having a carefully planned strategy for studying and undertaking exams is so important. Feeling confident going into exam season puts you one step ahead by helping you avoid those late nights and last-minute crams.
Every student wants to know the ideal way to get ready for finals. Whilst there’s no perfect one-size-fits-all approach to studying, there are plenty of useful things you can do. In this article, we outline five of the best tips for exams so that you can ace those tests.
1.Start Well in Advance
To some people it sounds obvious, to others it’s overkill. But no matter what you think, the benefits of preparing early are impossible to deny.
Starting in advance might mean different things depending on who you are and how you study best. There are plenty of things you can do to set yourself up well right from the start of the year.
First, make sure you have all of your study materials on hand so that you can make the most of all your time. Pens, paper, textbooks: whatever it is, you don’t want to feel that study bug strike and be unable to take advantage of it because you don’t have the right books or resources.
Second, plan your time from the get-go.
Scheduling is a vastly underused tool that can be approached in countless ways. Whether you’re busy with social activity or balancing a part-time job with your studies, planning will help you get ready for exams in advance.
Block out some regular time to complete notes, re-read confusing articles, and communicate with Professors throughout your semester. That way, you won’t end the term with your exams sneaking up and a pile of unfinished business in the way of your final revision.
2.Use Practise Tests
One of the most popular revision methods is the infamous past paper. For some students, there’s no better way to learn than answering questions.
Some university programs might not offer past papers out to students.
If this is the case for you, all is not lost: there are ways to emulate the learning style of the past paper without having direct access to them. You can team up with peers and ask one another questions that fit your course’s mark scheme, or you can search online for topic-based practice questions.
Whatever you choose, be sure that you check your answers. That’s the only way to really make the most of practice papers!
3.Tailor Your Study Materials
Everyone learns differently. That’s why you need to figure out your most effective study techniques long before your exams.
There are plenty of things you can try. Maybe re-reading notes will work, or perhaps listening to recordings of important facts and figures will help you memorize them. It’s important to play to your academic strengths, and account for your gaps in knowledge.
Tailoring your study materials means a revision approach catered directly to you.
Maybe you’d benefit from a tool that helps you to remember what you read. Perhaps visual infographics will be better suited to your needs than written notes. Here are some tools that might sort your studying better than ever before.
Planners – a planner can help you to organize your time, making sure you fit all the necessary topics into your revision in time for your exams. This is ideal for a busy student.
Mind Maps and Diagrams – good for visual learners, these can present information in a new way that might be easier to remember. Perfect if you’re studying a dynamic subject like anatomy or engineering!
Index Cards – great for memorizing small chunks of information, these can work well for essay-based subjects. Use them to learn quotations and critical viewpoints!
These suggestions are just a few of the countless study techniques out there.
Your entire approach to exam season should be tailored to you. That includes your methods of study, how you dedicate your time, and even the amount of minutes you spend working before having a break. Many students recommend the Pomodoro technique, in which 25-minute periods of work are split up by 5-minute breaks.
Whatever it is you need to do, be sure to optimize your learning for you. Forget what works for others, and find your own study groove.
4.Form a Study Group
Even for those who usually like to work in silence, study groups can help you ace your exams. This is because you don’t always have to be together to do work – but being part of a group gives you somewhere to turn with questions, and enables you to pool resources with other students.
There are countless benefits to forming a study group with your peers.
Being around others who are working can be a great motivator, encouraging you to get your head down and study. You can test one another, discuss important topics, or just sit together working on your revision. However your group functions, it’ll be worth being a part of.
Another great benefit of being a part of a group is that it reduces those familiar feelings of isolation.
Exam season can be a stressful time, and it’s easy to feel lonely. With fellow students around, you’ll be reminded you’re in it with a great group of scholars.
5.Never Burn Yourself Out
Burnout is a huge issue in academic circles, and students are always at risk of it in the run-up to exams. There are several important things to remember along with your study tips as you prepare for exam season.
Always make time for self-care. Exercise, eat well, and get a good night’s sleep.
Don’t totally neglect social activity. You might be busy working, but spending time around others at meals and breaktimes will do you good.
And remember: though doing well academically is great, it’s not the whole sum of your worth. Just do your best, and the rest will follow!
Go Ace That College Exam!
Now that you’ve got all of the key tips you need for studying for your college exam, it’s time to get to work! Be it planning, resting, or studying itself, it’s never too early to get on top of your busy academic lifestyle.
College can be tough. If you’re seeking more advice about studying and the academic lifestyle, you’re in the right place. Be sure to check out our latest posts for more.