Time before exams can be stressful and tiring. Being well prepared for your exams in advance can help reduce these effects. As a teacher, I always advise my students to learn and understand what it means being well-prepared for exams is all about. In this article, I will share the tips and strategies to get you fully prepared for your exams.
How to prepare for exams? Know your tools that will better equip you for the exam. Set routines and procedures that will keep you disciplined and on-task in your revision time. Finally, recognize the signs when you are ready or not, so you can focus on weak areas.
This guide on exam preparation is organized into 3 parts. These parts are planning, studying strategies, and keeping fit. In addition, this guide will highlight the important tools for exam preparation, self-evaluating your exam readiness, and things to bring on exam day.
- Identify your study goals
- Schedule your study time
- Put your study space in order
- Be optimistic
ii) Studying Strategies
- Make a reviewer
- Revisit your past assessments
- Organize a study group
- Assess what you have studied
iii) Keeping Fit
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat brain food
- Have enough sleep
- Have time for breaks
Having a plan is the first thing that you need to do. Planning helps you to think through your exam preparation and set up a roadmap to prepare well. As you plan, consider the following:
1. Identify your study goals
As part of your preparation, it is important for you to have your study goals. Your study goals will guide your study plan. Make sure that your goals are realistic. Do not identify goals that are too easy or too hard to achieve. Nonetheless, it’s always good to challenge yourself.
2. Schedule your study time
Once you have your study goals, you are ready to plan your study schedule.
Avoid cramming, and keep your study time within your schedule. Remember not to do last minute study on the night before the test.
3. Put your study space in order
Your study space can be a room or a table where you can spread your reading materials and other study tools. You should always keep it organized and clean. This can set the mood for a clear mind. A cluttered study space tends to be a distraction when you study.
4. Be optimistic
Being optimistic is the right attitude when you are taking exams. Always think positive by aiming to get high scores and never settle for what is just the passing grade. Having a positive attitude in preparing for your exams can have a big impact in your study time effectiveness.
ii) Studying Strategies
After planning and crafting your schedule, you have to strategize well. The right study strategies will help you reach your study goals. These are activities which you can include in your study schedule.
1) Make a reviewer
Make a reviewer to help you go through the takeaways of your study. This way, you can use it to review your knowledge before your exam.
2) Revisit your past assessments
Always keep your formative assessments to review during your revision. Remember that teachers will test you on ideas covered. Your previous assessments will also reveal your strengths and weaknesses, and this will help guide your study focus.
3) Organize a study group
Having a study group can be beneficial, but you have to ensure that the members of your group have the same study goals as you. You can have your group study sessions in person or you can also have it online. This study group could also keep you motivated, and they can also be your support group.
4) Assess what you have studied
Self-assessment is important to identify your weak and strong areas. After a series of revisions, you can assess your knowledge by taking on-line assessments about the topic or by answering self-made assessments.
iii) Keeping Fit
With all the mentally taxing activities, do not forget to take care of your physical health. Staying healthy as you prepare for the exam is critical. To study well for exams, you need a healthy mind and body.
1) Drink plenty of water
Hydrate yourself throughout your exam preparation, as lack of water in the body can affect your brain performance. You should drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. Have a bottle at hand so you can drink water in the middle of your revision.
2) Eat brain food
To keep fit and boost your brain functions, you can eat brain foods. These include eggs, yoghurt, cheese, chocolates, and nuts. You should also have fruits like bananas and blueberries.
Eating healthy foods is important as you revise for exams. It helps to improve cognitive functions and keep you healthy for exams.
3) Have enough sleep
Even as you spend most of your time preparing for an exam, do not deprive yourself of sleep. Just like your water intake, you must still have around 8 hours of sleep to keep your focus and concentration.
Naps are also helpful because long hours of mental work would exhaust your brain.
4) Have time for breaks
Your mind and your body can perform better if you have breaks in between. This will also improve your concentration.
Breaks will allow you to have time for your snacks, meals, some stretching, and a short chat with your family members.
You have to remember that break times are not wasted time. Taking breaks give you time to re-energize and consolidate your learning.
7 Study Tools to Prepare for Exams
To complete your exam preparation, you need the right study tools to keep you organized and ease your preparation.
Use a planner to record your exams schedule and plan ahead. Keep an organized schedule, it will keep you aware of those subjects which you need to review first, and those which can be scheduled later.
Your planner can also be used to record your thoughts about your revision. These days, there are already online planners, which makes using them convenient.
As a learner, always have a notebook at hand. Unlike digital tools, this classic study tool is still a must-have. Using a notebook allows you to take notes free-form and quickly jot down something. Writing with your notebook also makes the notes more memorable.
Your notebook provides you with a condensed record of key ideas. This will help you during your revision.
Use technology in your exam preparation. Gadgets like phones, tablets, and laptops can store and provide endless information about the topics that you’re studying.
While using your gadgets, you need to be conscious of your study purpose. These tools might become a powerful distraction if you do not exercise self-control. So, use them responsibly!
You need sheets of paper as you prepare for the exam, especially if the subject involves formulas and diagrams. A good practice is to put used paper on your study space so you can make use of their back part as needed.
5) Writing Materials in a Case
Writing materials like pens, pencils, and highlighters are indispensable study tools. You can make use of them to make notations on a book, notebook, or lose sheets of study materials.
Different colors of ball pens or highlighters can help you emphasize to mark the important concepts.
Put your writing tools in a case, so you can carry them anywhere and avoid losing them.
6) Filing binders
As mentioned, you have to keep your study space organized, and filing binders are helpful. Use these binders in classifying your papers or documents from different subjects.
With organized study materials, you can easily and quickly find the paper you need during revision.
Some subjects, such as mathematics, will require the use of calculators. Remember to use only the authorized calculators during your exam preparation, so you’re used to manipulating it during the exam.
5 Signs That You Are Ready For the Exams
Having put in all your efforts in exam preparation, you might observe these signs, as indicators, of your successful study effort. These signs serve as a positive indicators of your exam readiness.
1) You are excited
When exam day is getting nearer, and you are excited about it, this means that you are ready. You may have studied all the concepts and skills needed, and this makes you excited in answering the test questions.
2) You can answer questions right away
If you can answer questions right away, this also speaks of how much you have burnt the midnight oil to be able to prepare for the exams. This is a manifestation that you can most likely answer the test items.
3) You are confident to pass the exam
Once you talk positively about the results of the exam, you are showing your confidence to get high scores in the test. Your confidence could impact your performance in the exam, as this will motivate and challenge you to score better.
4) You are done reviewing 2-3 days before the exam
When you can say that you are ready to take the exam a few days before the schedule, you are definitely ready for that big day. This shows the result of your consistent and methodical efforts paying off.
5) You are not cramming
Cramming is a sign that you are not ready, and this might impact your examination results. This can also cause anxiety and nervousness in you. Prevent this from happening. Hence, when you don’t cram, you are on the way, and able to follow your study plan.
7 Things To Remember On The Examination Day
On examination day, these are the important things which you shouldn’t miss, so you won’t get yourself stressed on the day itself:
1) Prepare all the things you need the night before
To free yourself from running against time on the day of the test, ready all the things that you need for the test the night before. Put the required writing materials, your ID, and other necessary documents into your bag. It’s also a good practice to put together the outfit that you’ll be wearing for the test.
2) Wake up early
You have to wake up early or even earlier than you used to on the day of your exam. This will give you ample time to prepare yourself in going to the testing room, or if ever an untoward incident happened, you still have time to fix it.
3) Have a healthy breakfast
Taking a healthy breakfast is advised. This will provide you with the energy that you need during the exam. However, avoid taking unfamiliar foods because they might cause you to have stomach upset during the test.
4) Have the right mindset
You have to be conscious that you need to have the right mindset on the day of the exam because this will make you more focused in taking the test. Avoid distractions like opening your social media account or doing any activity which is not part of your routine.
5) Bring all the things that you need
You may be ready to take the test but you forgot something which is important in taking the test such as your test permit, calculator, or worst your writing material. If ever you forgot something important at home, this may cause you some stress on the day of the exam. Therefore, be proactive and bring all the things that you need.
6) Go to the testing room ahead of time
Going to the testing room ahead of time is a good practice whenever you are taking an exam. This way, you have time to relax and be familiar with your seat, especially if the venue is new. It will also ensure that you won’t be late.
Keep your cool and be stress-free on the day of your examination. Just relax. This would make you have a fresh mind that is ready to analyze and ponder on every question in the test. To relax, you can have deep breathing to calm you down, and this will also help you handle your test anxiety.
Preparing for exams can tire you, but this can be prevented by knowing how to prepare intelligently. This include knowing the above tips, the right study tools, and the signs of exam readiness. Importantly, do not take for granted the things to do during the examination day for they are important to ensure that all your preparations are not wasted. If you’ll consider all these, you would end up achieving the goals you set for your exams.
What are the foods which are good for the brain? To improve your memory and concentration, there are foods that can help in your brain functions. These foods include fatty fish, coffee, blueberries, avocados, turmeric, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, nuts, oranges, green tea, and eggs. Your diet must be rich in vitamins and minerals to ensure that your brain gets enough nutrients.
What should you not eat or drink on the examination day? You should avoid eating cookies, muffins, cakes, chocolates, candies, and other carbohydrate-rich foods. Do not drink soda and never consider alcohol before and during the examination day.
An important aspect that determines your exam preparation success is time management. The article below will teach you optimal time management strategy to revise for an exam.