Nothing instills fear and anxiety in the minds of students like Exams. Wanting to study is one thing, but it can be difficult to without the proper guidance. It’s important to build good study skills in your schooling career–skills which will carry you throughout. Fortunately, studying is an issue faced at all levels of school by all students, so you can find help.
- Keep Calm
Keep in mind that if you have been attending classes, and did a reasonable job doing your assignments, you actually have a lot of knowledge already. This main knowledge will help you throughout your test.
- No need to panic. Panic will only make your situation worse. You will be focusing on the horror, and not the upcoming test. Many times, panic can even deter your chances of doing well on the exam. If you panic, take deep breaths (try not to hyperventilate), and think that you can do this.
- You’re smart enough to realize you need to study days in advance. While some people study the day before, and some people always study this way, realize that last-minute cramming is not the ideal way to study, especially not for the sake of long-term retention of the subject matter. Also make sure not to study too much! Take some breaks for about 5-15 minutes.
- Determine what material needs to be covered.
Most exams cover specific subjects and material, and it’s important to know which material or components you need to study. Otherwise, you may be using your precious remaining study time incorrectly. Ask your teacher about the subjects you’ll be tested on and which chapters you need to cover. For example: What period in African history? Are diagrams important? Ask your lecturer if you’re unclear, as they want you to succeed.
- 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’ll be tested on, rather than scattering your studies everywhere. Review sheets, the highlighted topics in textbooks, and the parts your lecturer stressed repeatedly are all clues as to what the most important topics or components are.
- Find out how the test will be presented. What 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 the most important sections will be, and how the exam will be presented.
- Make a study plan.
It may seem like a basic and simple task, but people who make a detailed study plan often have an easier time with studying and they find they have more time to relax and chill. When making a study plan, build in the amount of time you have left before the exam date. Is the exam in a month? Did the teacher spring the test on you suddenly.Depending on the time frame, make your study plan long or short.
Determine what subjects you don’t know as much about and include more study sessions on these topics. The aspects you know more about still need reviewing, but they will come easier, so try to focus on the more challenging topics.
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. Discipline yourself to follow your study plan and avoiding being distracted by texting friends, social media, movies etc.
4. Figure out your study methods.
Study methods include using colors, pictures and brainstorm or mind map pages. Some people learn and remember things better if they’re in certain colors whereas other people may remember diagrams and pictures more easily. Use the method that works for you; as long as it’s effective, it doesn’t matter what it is. It’s no use reading a ton of text if your study method is diagrams. Remember, everyone has different methods to study, what works for your best friend may not work for you.
Use tools that will help you to study. Tools like flash cards may be boring, but really help memorize important things. If flash cards don’t seem to help, typing out an outline of your notes may work. Tape flash cards in ran dom places to quiz yourself. This is a good way to sneak in study time, as discussed below. Remember to study smarter, not harder
5. Engage in group studies
Course mates can be helpful in studying, but choose someone who will really help you, not the friend you tend to goof off with. Form a study group. Not only do you have additional help, you also have the advantage of studying with people you know well. However, avoid accepting those that will be of no help, and only distract your whole group from studying with unnecessary comments, chatting whiles studies is ongoing, tweeting or whatsapping etc. Don’t be rude and reject everyone whom you don’t like, but do be cautious about who you add to your study group!
6. 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 dictionary, or any other supplies, you must have them. 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 oversleep.
7. Turn up ready for the test !
Set your alarm clock in the morning; arrive on time or even a few minutes early. If it’s a test that requires registration, fees, identification and the like, schedule extra time for that.
Keep a positive attitude! Studying lots, but thinking you can’t really ace that exam, will reduce your chances of succeeding. See yourself as acing it, relying on all the preparation and attention you’ve given your studies to this point. Confidence is the key!
Aim high. Don’t just aim to pass the test (if passing the test is quite easy), aim to get an A+. This way, you get a better grade. Plus, if you don’t do as well on the next test, your A+ will still keep your overall grade high enough.
Wishing you all the best in your exams!