The first thing we recommend you is probably the most important to avoid unnecessary stress – you should know when your exam will be exactly and start preparation two weeks in advance, especially if it is a new process for you. Another thing to know – what is the exam going to be like. Do not hesitate to ask your professor what the format of the exam there is is going to be – multiple choice tasks, true and false exercises, open questions, written or oral exam. This way you will know how to prepare because there are certain ways to study in order to help you memorize for a specific type of test. So if you are going to have “true or false” exercises, you can just write some facts on your flashcards and decide if each of them is true or false.
Do Not Be Afraid to Speak to Teacher
Asking your professors is the best way to study, especially when you are alone in the classroom because sometimes they feel a little bit more open to sharing with you the information when you are alone. It is because there are certain students that they do not want to tell details to, like people who usually come late. So you can simply ask what the format of the exam is going to be like and what is the best way to study. They usually open up and say what exactly they recommend, what material you should reread carefully. It is really helpful to get those study guides from your professor.
Organize All Your Materials
We recommend you to collect all the materials that you feel are necessary for the exam, for example, all your previous assignments, materials for previous exams, your class notes, textbooks, etc. Try to put them in order for the exam. Once all of them are in order, you can start a process of preparation and go through all the steps. Probably you will realize that you are missing some materials on some topics or problems to practice.
Check Your Knowledge
The next thing is to create a final check that you can take right before you have to pass your exam. You can solve some extra problems or answer extra questions in the textbook. Again, you can even ask you professor are there any good problems you could use to practice. Sometimes a professor will tell you a certain question that could potentially be on the exam or certain topics that are more important to study. After that, you will have a certain idea of how you are expected to take this test, its format, and now you can create kind of a fake test. Do not look at it until you are done studying.
Once you have created that “fake test”, it is time to write your study plan. You can divide your time into two big areas: first is about math and sciences which usually have more concepts that are connected with each other, and the second is about foreign languages and history which need the memorization of different facts and vocabulary. Math and science section is very straightforward because you either get the question right or wrong, there is a certain answer that is expected.
Preparation for Math and Science
So the best way to study for these subjects is to understand the material and then to do some problems from every chapter. This way you find the material you knew before and the topics you still have issues with. In the second case, you can go to a teaching assistant or even to the professor to get help. It is more effective to listen and see someone doing the problem in front of you than just to read a textbook. After that, you can do the quiz problems for every single chapter, especially the ones you were having more difficulties with. You can find them online, they are called “test banks”. Sometimes professors choose exercises from those test banks in order to create tests, so if you use them to prepare, you can usually find something similar tasks or even someone else’s study guide that is quite useful. If you do not understand the concepts, just sit, do one hundred problems and keep going. You should just find study methods that work for you, and work on every problem until it becomes super easy for you.
History and Foreign Languages
These subjects are typically more about memorization of vocabulary or certain facts. Probably the most effective study technique for this – flash cards. Focus on the information that needs your attention, but do not stress much. There are many students sitting for hours and studying the material they already know. So if you are confident in information that you are studying, you need to move on to the difficult parts. Because if you do not, it is going to be your weakness on the exam, and you cannot let it happen. Go through your flashcards multiple times reading every card one or two times. After that, you should try to recall all the information looking at one side and saying what it stands for, and then correct yourself. After you checked your knowledge in this way several times, you focus on the ones that are the most difficult for you to remember. Not just read them but actually recall them and retell the information like you are explaining that to someone. Flash cards are really great for classes connected with vocabulary or history.
If it is the difficult part for you to figure out what events came first and which ones came after, it would be useful to have a timeline or storyline and to be able to create a story in your head to keep going through it. Another useful thing is to go online – there are many quizzes and flashcards, you can even print them out. We also recommend you to use a color code, but be sure not to spend too much time on creating your flashcards.
Talking about writing classes, it is so subjective when it comes to the grading of your work. We highly recommend you to talk to your professor about the rubric they are using and also to get to know what they would like to see. You may have to switch up your writing style completely just to please one teacher. Practice writing outlines that could potentially be on your exam, it may be about a book you were going through during your classes. You can use some websites to get a really quick overview of a book, you can even not read the whole book to write this work and get an A. Also during your classes you can notice that your teacher pays attention to certain details that he/she finds important, so write them down, you can use it in your essay later. In general, in these classes, the most important thing is to “learn” a professor and pay attention in class discussions writing down the examples you are talking about in the text (do not forget to mention page numbers).
Manage Your Time
Do not think that we recommend you not to read all the books your professor said to. But sometimes you have to learn to balance your time, especially if you have many classes and credits together in college. When you have to study for a certain test, and you have three other ones that you have to study for, you should figure out which one you feel is the most important. So sometimes you can take the opportunity to skip reading a book and just take a look at your notes for a literature class not to fail your math test. This is all about this balance in life and it is so difficult, but you have to just learn how to cope and get through it. You do not have to create detailed study guides when you do not have enough time.
In conclusion, whatever you are preparing for, keep pushing. Hopefully, all these tips would help you to get the results you expect to get. Good luck!