Hey, hi, hello internet friends!♡ I’m pretty sure that in most parts of the world exam period falls in the month of December. As a result, that means there is about 2-4 weeks left to prepare for those finals. Today, I decided to write this post to not only motivate myself to study, but also to hopefully inspire some of you to do the same.
Ultimately, this is a post telling you how to prepare for exams. Obviously I am no expert myself, however being a first year university student, and being raised in Greece, I have been writing exams every year since grade seven.
I am not saying my system is foolproof, but it seems to be working for me every time I use it so I hope you find it helpful(:
Week One: Gather your notes
Assuming you have 2-3 weeks before your midterm, you need to use your time making sure you know the most important stuff there is to know. In order to do that however you need to be aware of how much stuff you actually learned. I like to spend about one week collecting all my lecture/class notes, notes from the textbook and notes from class discussions. Once I have everything pilled up into one big mountain of loose papers, I then organize it and re-write the most important stuff into my notebook, as “Study Guide #1”.
(Side note: It is helpful to know the format of your exam before hand, since you need to prepare differently for a multiple choice exam than you need to for an essay exam).
By completing this process, you have not only read (or skimmed) through all the class material once which refreshes your mind, but you have also written it down once. They say repetition is the mother of learning and I genuinely believe that to be true.
Week Two: Revise your notes
After you have spent last week re-writing everything that you count as important, you will come to realize that damn, that’s actually a lot of notes. So what you will need to do now, is revise your study guide, and take out everything that you are one hundred percent that you already know. This is now “Study Guide #2” By doing this, you will make sure you spent your time focusing on things you don’t know.
HOWEVER: Repetition is important and you don’t want to start forgetting stuff you have already learned, so at the end of every night, crawl into bed and right before you pass out, take 10 minutes skimming through both study guides. They say studying right before bed helps you memorize things better. I’m not sure if that is a myth, however I like to review right before bed just in case.
Week Three: Test yourself + Review
Now that you have spent two weeks reading all your notes, writing them down and revising your notes, you should know the majority of the topics you need to be familiar with. Week three is when you will focus on testing yourself. What I like to do is go through the material pretending I am teacher/professor. If this were my class how would you test that my students know this information? Jot down those questions on a piece of paper, as well as the answers. Once you’re done creating questions, make sure you actually know the answers. Other ways to test yourself is to have a friend or a sibling ask you those questions in a random order. Do you still remember the answers then?
Side note: Again, do not forget to review the study guides every night! You cannot learn things are one sitting, you need to go over the material again and again and again.
TIPS & SUGGESTIONS:
- Review, review, review!
- The night before your exam make sure you go to bed a little earlier
- Writing stuff down will help you memorise it better than you would by just reading through it
- Colour coding sometimes helps organize things into categories in your brain, but that depends on the each individual. Some people find it great, some find it distracting
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself! I know you’re stressed, but you need to make sure you are drinking enough water, eating healthy and getting enough sleep.
- Studying with a friend can be more fun but less productive.
- Make sure you’re taking breaks. After a while your brain stops learning as sufficiently, so give yourself some breaks. I usually do: 50 minutes of studying , 10 minute break for three hours, and then give myself a 30 minute break. During those breaks make sure you don’t allow yourself to get distracted. So don’t jump on YouTube or Netflix. Instead, stretch, make yourself a healthy snack or go for a walk!
- Remember that if you genuinely tried your best, that is enough. We are not all good at the same things.
- Stop procrastinating by reading blog posts! Give this one a like and then get studying!!
Depending on the amount of time you have before you take your midterm/final/test you would need to make some minor changes to the guide so that it suits your schedule. I wish you all the best of luck!
~~How do you prepare for exams?
Love you to the moon & back