5 ways to prepare for your exams
The better prepared you are for your exams, the more likely you will do well. It goes without saying that you will need to work hard, but equally important is the need to work smart. Here are five ways in which you can do just that.
Give yourself plenty of time
We all know the feeling of last-minute cramming. Late nights, little sleep and lots of anxiety. Sometimes it works, but it is hardly a reliable study method. Especially when you consider that cramming means you are less likely to retain the information you learn. So give yourself plenty of time. Map out when your exams are and how much time you need to study for each one. That way, you can keep the last-minute cramming to a minimum.
Create a study plan
Defining how much time you need to study for each exam is a good start. Once you have done that, you can set yourself daily targets. If you have five exams, for instance, do you study for all five each day, or do you prioritise based on which exam is next? Much will depend on how good a handle you have on each subject. Also, be sure to schedule in regular study breaks. Over the course of a day it is more productive to give yourself a ten-minute break every hour than it is to study ten hours straight. Remember: study smart.
Know how you work best
Are you an early riser or a night owl? Do you concentrate better at the library or in your room? Part of studying smart means recognising how you study best. Work out what time of day you feel most alert, and aim to do the bulk of your studying then. At the same time, determine where you can work with the fewest distractions, and make sure you spend most of your time studying there.
Ask for an old exam
One of the best ways to prepare for an exam is to practise on an old exam. This will familiarise you with the format of the test, and give you an idea of the type of questions that will be asked. So make sure to ask your lecturer or someone in the class above you if they can fish out an exam from a previous year. It could be a big help.
Organise a study group
If you can, organise a study session with your friends. Use it as an opportunity to ask any questions that have been troubling you, and to clarify things you already know. Sometimes being forced to articulate an idea aloud can focus your thinking and give you a greater grasp of the topic at hand. Studying with friends will also allow you to consider the subject matter from a different point of view, which will deepen your understanding.
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