How to Effectively Prepare for Exams

Exams can be a stressful time for college students, especially if you’re not as prepared as you’d like to be. Of course, with a little thoughtful planning, you can make exam time a lot less stressful. Check out our little tips for getting prepared for exams.

Block out your calendar. As soon as you get your syllabus each semester, go to your calendar and make note of when you’ll be taking your midterms and final exams. In the week (or two) preceding your major exam dates, be sure to write study time down as well. This can help you avoid scheduling events and commitments that would otherwise interfere with your exam and study time.

Keep excellent notes all semester. Keep them neat and legible so they’ll be easy to go back and study with later on. Even if you can’t be in class all the time, be sure that you’re covered by notes from your classmates. Consider the topics your professor seems really enthusiastic about and do your best to focus on those. You may even want to take the time to periodically condense your notes into what’s really important, so you’ll have a handy study sheet to reference when the time for exam study comes around.

Don’t throw away quizzes and classwork. If you want to know what’s important to your professor, just take a look at what’s been assigned before. Chances are, you will be retested on what’s come up in essays, quizzes, and classwork. Store handouts and every piece of paper you get in class. Go back and review your work, and make a special note of what you didn’t get right the first time around.

Manage your stress and anxiety. Schedule time for breaks and time to blow off steam. If you’re studying straight through for several hours, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Not only is your body and mind suffering, but your studies are too-you can’t concentrate and retain information when you’re working for that long. Taking it easy will help you be more productive. Don’t forget to get enough sleep before the exam-your brain will better retain information if you have had what at least resembles a full night’s sleep.

With these tips, you can prepare for your exams all semester long, and hopefully avoid some of the panic that exams can bring. Take the time to prepare early, and you’ll be glad you did.

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