How to study for exams

With end of year exams just around the corner there are many students who will be spending the next couple of weeks studying and preparing for their exams.  Study is something that isn’t taught at school, leaving students to work out their own methods of revision.  From my teaching experience this most often involves re-reading and summarising notes, often of what the student already knows. This is not the most effective way of revising.  So how can students get the most out of this study period?  Here are a few tips.

1.  Plan your study.  Look at the times you have available and decided what is going to be achieved during that time.  Make sure you have all your resources available.  This means that time is not been wasted deciding what to do and finding the materials to do it.

2.  Find out the format of your exams and come up with a strategy in terms of the breakdown of time during the test and the order in which you should approach each component.  The component with the most marks should be attempted first.  Practice each type of question that is required on your test during your study time.

3. Rather than just re-reading and summarising information use concept maps, flow charts and other visual ways of organising information.  These are active ways of learning as you are required to think about the information and how it fits together.  Information learnt this way will be retained for longer than passive learning styles.

4.  Go through practice exams and use these to pinpoint areas that need to be revisited. Don’t just do the exam, mark it and then move on.  For the questions that you got incorrect go back to your books and notes and establish where you went wrong.  This way you should get a similar question correct next time you see it.

5.  When studying for your exam use the tools and equipment you will use on the big day.  Practice with the same calculator.  Have your data book or formula sheet in front of you so you become familiar with it.  If you are able to take in a summary use it as you work through practice exam.  This way you will know if there is anything you need to add to it.

Good Luck with your exams!!!

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