How to prepare for any exam in 5 easy steps

Exams are being used more often in our schools and also to select candidates for careers such as teaching and the police force. This in turn means there is more competition and you need to know the best way to prepare for an exam to give you the highest chance of success.

Step 1

Study timetable: When studying for an exam, do not leave your study to the last minute. It is a really good idea to create a study timetable as early as possible. Depending upon your other commitments such as school or work, you may choose to study 2 hours each day for 5 weeks. You will get far better results this way rather than cramming 10 hours per day 2 or 3 days before the exam.

Step 2

Practice exams: It is vitally important that you find quality practice exams. Ideally you want the practice exams to be as realistic as possible with the same components, number of questions, time limits, etc. The practice exams will help you to find any gaps in your knowledge and refine your exam timing. Online practice exam have an advantage over paper based exams as they are usually updated on a regular basis. Use the results of the practice exam to dictate the concepts you need to revise.

Step 3

When studying use the exact equipment you will take into the exam. If you are allowed a ‘cheat sheet’, use that resource when studying in order to refine it. If you are allowed a calculator or a formula sheet use them in the period leading up to the exam so as to familiarise yourself with your tools.

Step 4

Exam day:

  • On the night before the exam, it’s a really good idea not to have a late night. You will need a good night’s rest to be fresh and alert the next day
  • You should ensure you have set an alarm so you are not late to the exam. In many exams you will not be allowed into the exam if you are late
  • Make sure you have a balanced breakfast on the morning of your exam. This will help your body’s energy levels and keep your mind sharp
  • Make sure you leave for your exam with plenty of time to spare. You don’t want to be rushing to the exam location and have your stress levels rise too high as this can negatively impact your performance during the exam
Step 5

Strategies during the exam:

  • Make sure you go to the toilet before the exam. Otherwise going during the exam can deny you valuable exam time
  • Wear a watch if allowed. This will allow you to keep track of the time and help with your exam strategy
  • Many exams allow reading time before the start. This is a great time to develop your exam strategy. This can include how long you should spend on each question, how long to allow for checking at the end, etc
  • Don’t get stuck on questions you don’t know. Mark the question (so you know to come back to it) and then move on
  • Complete the section of the exam with the most allocated marks first
  • If you finish the exam with time to spare, go back and check your answers to ensure you haven’t made any mistakes
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