Exam prep can be difficult, especially when your methods are random and unorganized. I’ve been a college student, on and off, for almost 9 years now. These are some methods that I use for exam prep that help me get the A I deserve. Studying is never an easy task, especially with distractions. Using my tips will help you get the exam grade you want.
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Exams are difficult, and I know finals are fast approaching. It can be difficult to manage your studies and your household at the same time. As a stay-at-home mom of 2 little boys, studying for exams is a pain in the you know what. Exam prep should be an organized and efficient process, leaving you with time to spare for your littles and confidence in your grade.
Some Exam Prep Tools You’ll Need
- Your notes
- Your textbook
- Highlighter – These Sharpie ones are great and have some colors you won’t find in other brands.
- Pen – This one is my favorite! No skipping and they last quite a while.
- Notebook Paper
- Your computer and printer (if you have them)
Exam Prep & Studying for Understanding (Not Memorization)
I’ve found the preparing for exams is better done when you study to understand the material. While memorization is a good tool for vocabulary and spelling (and yes, math formulas), but for other areas, it won’t work as well.
- Here’s an example. Let’s say you took a class on family systems in a chemically dependent family. There are certain roles that are created when a family has a member who is addicted. There is a total of six roles that become apparent in these families. Now you could easily go and memorize the six role titles and be able to spit them back out. But, if I asked you how two of those roles would interact with each other, would that memorization be able to answer the question? No.
The only info I will use memorization for is vocab words, and this example is specifically why. I have a professor right now, who gives you very straightforward notes and lectures. But his exams can be difficult to master because he expects you to understand and apply your knowledge.
The Steps for Exam Prep
- Gather your notes for the material to be included on the exam.
- Re-read and highlight the very important information. I suggest that you don’t highlight the information you are very comfortable with. Rewriting this information will use time and if you know it, you don’t have to study it.
- **Suggested, not necessary** Once I have highlighted the key points to the notes, I will type up, or write out, a study guide for myself with the highlighted information. You want to write this out in outline format. Include details that will help you with understanding.
- Now you’ve gone over the info 3 times already! And it shouldn’t have taken very long. You may not realize it, but you’re already gaining an understanding of the material. Now read over your study guide and if you have any questions on the material, write them in the margin. If there is info that you are not comfortable with at all, circle or star this information.
- I’m being anal, I know, but it comes with the anxiety. From my study guide, I will create practice tests using the questions I came up with when I went over the study guide. I would do this on separate paper, or in a separate Word document. The number of questions will vary based on the amount of info you have to study, your current understanding of the material, and how many questions you had when you reviewed.
- Use your practice test! No peeking at your notes/study guide. From here, you’ll be able to see what you need to work on and what you have an understanding of.
- Repeat the practice test, rework questions, etc as needed.
- Ace that exam because you ARE awesome!
Like my exam prep suggestions? Let me know! Think I should make any changes or do you have suggestions? Let me know!!
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