Even when you are passionate about what you are studying it can still be difficult to get motivated and retain information for an exam. The right study preparation is essential as leaving everything to the last minute could leave you with a below average grade. While cramming works for a few people, most of us need longer to learn. Here are our top 5 tips for preparing for your next exam:
1. The Right Workspace
When you are studying for an exam, a comfortable workspace is essential. You will be spending hours at your desk and it needs to be both ergonomic and practical for those long study sessions. Keep the area clear of clutter and distractions, and have everything you need on hand. Arrange your books, notes and pens neatly and switch off the social media. The way you study will depend on how you learn best as an individual. You may like to position yourself near a window, have headphones or the TV in the background, or a completely quiet space. To mix it up you may even like to take your computer to the library or a cafe to avoid going stir crazy.
2. Talk About It
One of the best ways to test your understanding of a topic is to talk about it. Talk to anyone who will listen and try to explain what you have learnt. Your parents, partner or friends can look through the text and quiz you on potential questions. When you are able to think on the spot and know the answers you will be better prepared to get the grade you are after. Don’t forget your classmates, as discussing the topic with them will help all of you feel confident on the big day. Arrange group study sessions and repeat anything you are unsure of until it comes naturally.
3. Do Those Practice Tests
Universities, colleges and schools often give you access to previous tests to practice with, and while these will vary slightly from the real thing they will give you an idea of what to expect. By doing a practice test you will be able to flag those key areas which you are struggling with and need to focus on. There are often apps and online quizzes based on specific subjects which may offer additional assistance. Besides practice tests try a variety of different study methods. Reading, writing, singing…do whatever it takes to help you to remember. If you are struggling, chat with your lecturer as they have have some tips.
4. Take Your Time
Plan how you will study, giving yourself ample time to learn and revise everything you need to. If you are organised you will spend the semester asking questions and revising as you go in preparation for the exam. Sometimes life gets in the way, and if you do get behind use the time you have wisely. Schedule specific study hours, where you work without distraction. Allowing for breaks will make this process easier and will clear your head between sessions. The night before the exam, do a brief recap but don’t stay up all night as you will likely be fuzzy the next day.
5. Look After Yourself
Exams are going to be stressful for most people, it just comes with the territory. This is a time to exercise self care and this means drinking plenty of water, eating right and keeping active. Take regular breaks and stretch your muscles to keep the blood flowing. What is good for your body is good for your brain, and sitting for long periods of time with a poor diet is not going to keep you feeling sharp. Keep a water bottle handy and nutritious snacks such as nuts, fruit and vegetables easily accessible.
We want to wish you all the best with your assignments and exams, and hope you found these tips helpful. How do you survive the semester? We would love to hear your thoughts, you can leave your feedback in the comments section below.