How to Prepare for Your Exams

Exam time can occur like an opportunity or a dreaded dream depending on how prepared you are for it mentally and physically. Each one of us is different, so there can be no single method for each of us. But, we know our strengths and weaknesses and can prepare accordingly. There can be a person that can prepare a paper in 20 minutes while others take 40 minutes for the same. What makes all the difference is if that person takes 20 minutes to prepare or not.

Below are 20 tips to help you study efficiently for your exams.

1. Prepare in advanceWhile some of the students leave it on to the last minute preparation but it has been proved by many studies that studying till the last moments can add a lot of stress and does not even work for the most of the students. To make sure that exams do not make your life difficult, it is important that you prepare in advance and make a study schedule according to the time you need to prepare for different subjects as some subjects take more time to prepare than the others.

2. Check your syllabus – Take a look at your syllabus before you make a plan for studying. There can be some topics that you may not have touched at all or you did not even realise that they are there. Sometimes, the things you have studied in a previous semester are repeated and sometimes the things you have been studying may not be there in the syllabus for the exams. So, it gives you an idea of how much work you have to do.

3.  Get a good start in class – This seems like something that requires or involves little or no mental effort. But, it has to be kept in mind during the classes. It is easy for the students to lose focus and indulge in other activities. For other activities, keep your time out of the class. To minimise distraction in the class, it is recommended that you sit close to your teacher or the spot where the distractions are less and the voice of the teacher reaches clearly.

4. Pay attention and take good notes – It is more than just being focused during your lectures. It is to notice the points which are emphasised by your teacher. It also means to attend the classes regularly and be present in the lecture in time. Take your notes on a notebook or diary but they should be all in one place so that you can access them whenever you want. If you have to miss classes, you can ask a friend to help you with notes.

5. Explain your answers to others – Teaching the concepts that you have learned not only makes the concepts clear to you but also helps you to repeat the concepts in your own language. It is also one of the best ways to involve others in helping you rather than distracting you from your studies.

6. Study in a quiet room – There are a lot of things that would take your attention away if you do not take care of them in advance. These things include TV, smartphone, outdoor noises, people around you and even your friends. It is better that you declare your study times to your friends and family members and requests their co-operation if they tend to disturb you.

Also, keep the TV switched off and remote out of your sight. Checking your phone again and again and studying do not go well together. Some students think that they can chat and study at the same time but various studies have established that it is not a good practice. Sometimes, a light instrumental music (without lyrics) is helpful in focusing on your studies.

7. Let the fresh air come in – Opening the windows and letting the fresh air in is a good way to keep the environment oxygenated. Fresh air and sunshine have been reported to reduce the symptoms of stress. There have been various studies that concluded that increased ventilation rates have improved the task handling in the children and learners. 

8. Start as soon as possible – ‘A good start is half done’ and it takes time to have a good start. So, one should start preparing for the exams as soon as possible. Cramming at the last moments would only add stress and tension. Be relaxed and start early.

9. Have a meeting with your teacher – It is good to ask questions from your teachers and professors. They can provide you with some helpful hints and topics to study. They can also guide you regarding what is important and what is not and the methods to prepare for the examinations.

10. Keep your goals in mind There are certain things that you want to accomplish and in context of exams the goal related to the desired outcome of the exam should be kept in mind so that you know how much marks are needed and how much preparation you need to achieve that objective.

11. Write your notes in your own words The notes that you have taken in your class are pieces of information and to transform them into knowledge and imbibe them, it is important that you are able to re-tell them in your own words. Also, take out the examples, diagrams and maps that are useful.

12. Check earlier tests and assignments – Sometimes some important concepts have been there in your earlier assignments. If you check the earlier assignments, you will find many of the questions that have not been attempted by you.

13. Study for your learning style – Every learner has a different learning style. You may be a visual learner or you can be a kinaesthetic learner. It is good to know your learning style and study accordingly. Design your learning strategy according to the learning style and you will be more effective.

14. Study for the style of the exam – The exam can consist of MCQs or there can be long written summary questions. For long essay type of questions, you not only need to understand the concepts but also the examples, facts and theories related to a concept.

15. Pace yourself – It is important that you be consistent and persistent rather than trying to do everything over a night. With the help of the given tips, it is easy to pace yourself and reach the target in a composed and comfortable manner.

16. Team up with your friend – It is good to team up with one or two of your friends. You can break the topics to study in parts. Each one of you can first study the concept and then discuss and explain it to others. It not only saves time but also creates a setting where you can be focused on your work. You can also get assignment help from your friends.

17. Drink plenty of water – Keeping your body hydrated is important for your brain to function efficiently. Also, make sure that you drink water during your breaks during your study time. Empty your bladders at least two hours before the examination; some examiners do not let the students go to the bathroom.

18. Get enough sleep the night before – There are times when you are anxious about the results and forget to eat and sleep. Exam time can be one of such times, but it should not be. It is important that you get enough sleep the day before the exam so that you are fresh and ready to take the test the next day. Also, take a healthy breakfast and if the exam is day-long put some snacks in a tiffin.

19. Reach the exam hall before time – Get yourself settled down before the exam starts. Reach the examination hall at least 5 to 10 minutes before the exam starts. It will give you the time to gather your thoughts and also complete any formalities such filling in attendance sheet.

Do the questions you know first – There is a limited time in which you have to complete the test. So, start with the questions that you are confident in. Do not lose time in working on the questions that you are not sure about.

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