Sunday, March 29, 2009

How to Study for an Approaching Exam

1. Calm down. The last thing to do at this point is panic. But you are smart enough to realize you need to study days in advance. Some people always study this way.(Although it's not the ideal way to study.) Remember, if you have had decent attendance, did a halfway reasonable job doing your assignments, you actually have a lot of knowledge already. This main knowledge will help you throughout your test.
Don't freak, as you will end up focusing on the horror and surprise, and not what you should be focusing on-the test.
Don't freak, as you will end up focusing on the horror and surprise, and not what you should be focusing on-the test.
2. Determine the Material that Needs Covering.Ask your teacher if you are unclear.
Studying together can be helpful---just make sure you're not goofing off.

3. What Will the Exam Look Like? Find out what is covered by the test, and types of questions will be on it (multiple choice, essay, word problem, etc.) Find out how much each section is worth. If you do not know, ask the teacher. This will help you know what will be the most important sections, and how it will be presented.
4. Take notes and ask questions. It's never too late, and the sessions before the exam usually are review; just what you need. If you are studying and happen to come across a part you can't understand, write it down. Ask your teacher either during class or during office hours.
5. Find Your Resources. Your textbook, notes, online sources, classmates, teachers, and possibly your family members can all be of use. Old assignments are especially good, as some exams have questions directly off homework.
6. Ask for Help. You don't get bonus points for going it alone. Classmates can be helpful in studying, but choose someone who will help you--not the friend who you goof off with. Ask help from your parents or siblings; they may really appreciate being asked. Younger siblings especially like "quizzing" older brother or sisters!
7. Plan your time. It's tempting to put everything off until the night before the test. Instead, figure out how much time you will put aside each day for study. Remember to account for breaks. A good rule is: study for a half-hour, break for ten minutes.
8. Study the Most Important Topics First. Exams usually cover a few core ideas, concepts, or skills. When pinched for time, focus your energies on the very important bits you will be tested on, rather than scattering your studies everywhere. Review sheets, the highlighted topics in textbooks, and parts your teacher stressed repeatedly are all clues to what is important topics.
9. Sneak in Study Time. Short, repeated periods of study are often more effective than long periods of study. Go over your flash cards while waiting for the bus. Look over a diagram of the spleen while waiting for your breakfast. Review the information during study halls or extra time at lunch.
10. Use Tools That Will Help You Study. Tools like flashcards may be boring, but really help memorize important things.
11. Organize yourself for the test. Be sure you have what you need for the test the night before. If you need a No.2 pencil, a calculator, a German dictionary, or whatever, have it. The more put together you are, the calmer you will be, and the more likely you will do well. Be sure your alarm clock is set, so you won't over-sleep.
12. Get some sleep before the big day. This step is extremely important and cannot be skipped. Without sleep, your chances of doing well on the test fall extremely, because your brain can't focus on what it needs to.
13. Eat a good breakfast. It will keep you mind alert and ready to answer anything that comes its way. An example of a good breakfast is a glass of juice, an egg, toast, and cheese. If you do have to eat a bowl of cold cereal, make sure it's wholesome and whole-grain, not a sugary insubstantial brand or you may experience a 'crash' during the test.
14. Take the Test. Set your alarm clock in the morning; be on time or a few minutes early. If it's a test that requires registration, fees, identification and the like, schedule extra time for that.