You totally don’t want to think about it right now, but finals are just around the corner. That means you can add studying for them to your already vast to-do list. Here are some helpful hints on how to prepare for your exams and get everything else done.
Tip 1: Start early
Preparation for exams should begin earlier than the day before the test. You can’t cram an entire unit of information into an all-nighter. Get started at least a week before the exam.
Tip 2: Organize
Begin by making yourself a calendar outlining a daily schedule of topics for review. Cover a small amount of material for each class each day. Every time you complete a topic, give yourself a mini review.
Tip 3: Outline
Once you have decided what you need to study and how much time you need to spend studying, it is time to actually study. One of the best ways is to make succinct outlines. As you read over your textbook and class notes, write a brief summary for each topic. Highlight the areas in your outline that were most troublesome. When you have finished with all the material, you will have an outline you can review.
Tip 4: Make flashcards
Similar to outlining, making flashcards is a really helpful technique for studying. By writing down the information from your outline, you are already doing half the studying. Once the flashcards are complete, you will have a portable study packet to look over.
Tip 5: Get help
If you are having trouble memorizing something or a particular concept is just not sinking in, get help before it’s too late. Ask your teacher to go over a glitch you might be having. Or if memorizing 200 vocabulary words seems like too much to do, recruit your family members to quiz you with index cards.
Tip 6: Sleep
You need at least seven hours of sleep a night to function. Tests are designed to make you think. If you are sleep-deprived, you won’t be able to remember any of the information you worked so hard to cram into your brain.
Tip 7:Stay calm
Do not panic at the exam! Even if at first glance the test is overwhelming, remember to breathe. If a question seems too hard, answer all the questions you know, then return to the ones you left blank. Remind yourself that you are prepared.
Tip 8: Don’t rush
You have spent at least two weeks studying, so what’s another couple of minutes? Work through the exam slowly and read all the questions before answering them. If you are done before the time is up, look over your answers.
Tip 9: Relax post-exam
Don’t let panic overwhelm you. Even if you think you bombed the exam, worrying will not change your score. It may, however, affect your mindset for your next final. Zone out the last test and stay focused on the next one. Odds are, you didn’t do as badly as you think.
By Alexandra Mayzler
Article reprinted with permission from Next Step Magazine.