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Exam Preparation: 14 Effective Study Tips

Updated on January 17, 2018
JR Cuevas profile image

Ray is a civil engineering student and former student journalist. He loves to write about education, technology, and lifestyle.

Have you ever had a failing grade in your exams? A grade of 59% or below? An F as in failed? Very stressful right?Scan through and you'll find out how to perfect your exams.

Schoolwork has become tougher and harder each year as you go through the periods of your study in your current school. Whether it is an engineering program or a business program, things could really get difficult at most times. You experience cramming just to let your brain absorb huge values of information and imbalance handling of your schedule due to a lot of activities that you need to organize or attend to. Sadly, all of these probably results to low passing grades or worst, failing grades in your exams. It's quite depressing, right? You become even more stressful and don't know what to show or what to say to your parents when they ask you about how you are performing.

Just follow these and you'll be able to ace your exams.

1. Listen to the Lectures

I know many of you are not listening to your professors because he/she already uploaded the slide presen​tations in your group, so you're thinking what is the purpose of the discussion if you could just download the presentations and scroll while studying. Unfortunately, it's not right.

The most effective thing to do to be able to heft your scores and perform well in school is to listen very carefully to your professors. I know it is quite intellectualistic to listen to your professor's geeky lessons but keep in mind that absorbing these learning would greatly help you with your exams to some extent. There will be times that your professor would be adding additional information during their discussions that are not included in the presentations uploaded. There are also some scenarios where your professor will be giving hints of what type of questions will appear in your exam. So, the mighty keywords are "Pay Attention".

Listen to the Lectures
Listen to the Lectures | Source

2. Remove All Distractions

​Before starting, remove all unnecessary things on your study table and clear your mind. Turn off your phones, tablets or any gadget that you have that could cause you distractions or you can just turn on the airplane mode of your phone if you' ll be needing your phone on your review as one of your references. Start setting your mind about finishing your goals and what will happen if you'll be able to accomplish those goals. Think of your dreams, imagine yourself being on that specific dream of yours. Think of it because you'll run out of time if you won't be starting now. It's all about mindset everybody. If you want to become successful in the future then start with discipline and determination. Have the willpower and courage and everything good will follow. Mind over matter!

Checklist for topics
Checklist for topics | Source

3. Checklist of Topics to Study

​The primary thing to do in preparing for your exams is to list the topics to study. Start with listing the topics covering your specific exam. With this, in a piece of paper you can make a note and draw boxes before the topics or you could use applications that can be downloaded on the phone that performs as a checklist.There are already so many free applications available in the stores of your phone that you can easily download and use. It's time for you to be resourceful and to be as creative as you possibly can. In listing the topics, it should be as precise as possible for you not to forget certain topics while studying and be able to study everything for your exam. Without any doubt, you will feel the sense of accomplishment and lightness every time you checked those boxes.

4. Prepare All Study Materials

​The second thing to do is to prepare all the study materials which include books, paper handouts, your notes/notebooks, calculator(if needed), paper and of course your pen. If you still have other things to prepare that are not mentioned, then bring it out and make sure it will help you with your review.

Study Materials
Study Materials | Source

Aside from the notes from the lectures of your professors, it is always important to supplement those learning. With only hours of lecture in the classroom, not all topics are covered and discussed by your teacher or your professor. It's for you to find ways on how to be able to maximize the learning and widen the knowledge about the topic. Here are some of the supplementary materials that you can use.

  • Sources from web
  • Video viewing sites
  • Library books

a. Internet Sources

The Internet has been a great learning platform for many students in primary, secondary, tertiary or post-graduate studies. It's like everything is on the internet. With just one word and one click, you'll be able to search what you need. In this era of modern technology, it's time for us to maximize it for our development and improvement. There are so many e-books over the internet that are costly in the books stores, so why don't grab the chance offered to you by the internet.

You could also use internet answer sheets and many other internet sources to add to your reviewers. There are so many internet sources to supplement your study, there are these numerous educational sites on the internet which are for students including the available subjects or you can you can just visit your online library where you can find so many databases and links of great content and surely it will help you with your review.

b. Video Viewing Tutorials

Video viewing tutorial is also a good platform for supplementary learning. if you are a passive and visual learner, these could be a good source of study materials for you. With over billions of videos in the internet, there are so many video tutorials available and are handy because you can watch it on your phones or your tablets. You can also subscribe to different channels, if there are any, that teach visually or any other channel that teaches your topic of interest. By this, you would be notified and alerted about the new lessons posted. Another good thing about video tutoris is that it offer you variety of teaching techniques.You can try quizzes that are timed or you can just actively listen to the teacher and jut down important notes.

c. Library Books

Looking for books online? Why not try looking from your libraries too. Aside from the fact that you are paying to use the facility and the books stored in the library, libraries offer you much more content and quality information than any other sources. It's easy to check for good sources from your library. You can search for a control number over the desk and find a specific book yourself or ask some help from your librarians. If there's anyone who knows everything on the four corners of your library, they are your librarians so don't be shy to ask. It's their work so they will be very happy to help you.

Your school library is probably operational and lets you borrow some books. Days before or on the day that you will review, scan through the library and look for great sources for you to study and practice. Make this a habit because most of your professors are using the same books that are stored in the library. You never know, the problem that you've practiced or answered will be appearing in your exam. How lucky right? However, in some libraries, selected books are not allowed to be borrowed, you can ask the librarian if you could just take pictures of the pages you need or you if you can photocopy it immediately. After that,you are good to go.

Sort each study material and decide on which to start with.


5. Study Smart

One strategic thing to do while reviewing is to have a timetable. Yes, you're right. Just like your schedule in school every day. Time your review for each topic and decide when you are going to take your breaks to somehow rest your brain and redeem yourself. This has been very effective to many students who balance their time so well and get high scores in exams. Exam coverage can be too long and painful to see. With so many topics to study it will just make you exhaustive if the balancing of time is not prioritized. Allotting an hour to 2 hours of review for each topic or subject is review-wise considering if the coverage is too long. So, time management is a must.

Another technique on how to review smart is to start with the hardest topic. That's the main technique why your top classmates perform well during exams. Now it's time for you to be like them or be better than them. Starting to review with the hardest topic is a good way to start everything because you still have the full energy to review and have the utmost strength to absorb information on difficult topics.

Example of Timetable for Engineering Economy Subject

Engineering Economy
Future Worth
Present Worth
Cost Design Economics
Refresh everything

6. Use Acronyms

Creating acronyms is an effective study habit that you should practice. You cannot avoid wordy sentences in your handouts. Every time you review, you can create an acronym from an information reducing too much ingestion. There is a mechanism in your brain that makes you easily remember many words with just a single letter. In subjects without computations and are just pure memorization, constructing acronyms from an information enumerated will help you.

7. Write Down Words Repeatedly

Another technique while reviewing is writing down words over and over again. By this, you will never forget everything you’ve studied. Either it is a formula or a term. Additionally, you can also say all the words you wrote for better memorization. The psychological explanation to this is that when you certainly do things over and over again or say words repeatedly, it will remain in your memory for a long time. The simplest example is when you are buying. When you buy a specific item over and over again, the tendency is you memorize the price of that item right?

8. Teach Others

Teaching others is a great technique to remember everything that you’ve studied. Your valedictorian is an example. You probably observed that he is always helping and teaching your classmates who are struggling to understand the lectures. Teaching others is a form of refreshing your brain. With this method, there’ll be a small chance of forgetting information. Another advantage is that you might also learn something new from them either by discovery or by them directly telling you.

9. Know When to Review

You should know your study time. Whether if you’re a student who prefers night over morning or vice versa.There are two types of students. One is a student who is very active at night while the other one is a student who prefers studying in the morning. Based on observations, a student who prefers night is the one who wants to finish everything as soon as possible. The other one which is the morning student is the type of student who prefers waking up early in the morning and doesn’t like the idea of stressing out late at night.

10. Attend a Group Study

Group study is a way of both reviewing and having so much fun as well. According to studies, interaction while studying helps you remember the words 25% more than when you are alone. Organize a group study with your friends, help each other and make plans on when and where it will take place. Make a checklist and a timetable for a better and organized review time. You can also join organizations or clubs who offer a free review as part of their platforms on your campus.

11. Maximize Professor/Teacher Consultation Hours

There are some schools that promote this type of supplementary learning to students. Professors tell their consultation hours to the students including the time and the room(sometimes at the teacher's faculty). This is the time where students can ask for clarification regarding the lectures or ask their professors to repeat the lecture last meeting. Maximize these hours because exercises that would be given to you might be very helpful for you to understand the previous lectures effectively.Therefore, making you ready for your upcoming exams.

If there are no consultation hours, try to approach your professor and clarify things you don't understand. You could also try to ask for practice problems for you to answer or references that he/she is using for you to check out and study. Don't be shy about it because they are teachers and teachers would always want the best for their students.

12. Sleep Early

Really wanted to ace your upcoming exam? Then, don't stress yourself too much and sleep early.

Many students cram in studying at night before the exam. It really occurs to most of the students due to lots of homework, projects, quizzes and so much more about school. Usually sleeping 1 AM, 2 AM, 3 AM or worst without a single minute of sleep. This is not healthy! According to studies, it is advisable to have 7-9 hours of sleep depending on the person to regain lost energy and maintain tough concentration the next day.

Getting a good sleep is very important because once you lack sleep during the exam, you will not be able to think properly and focus on your exam and you end up failed. As a result of these events, it will cause you more stress and depression. According to some studies, human brain recharges, allowing it to absorb and produce memories.

13. Eat Brain Foods

​Aside from studying smart, eating healthy and eating the right kind of foods will supplement and help your brain absorb more information and enhances it. Being able to eat or drink any of these will help you concentrate on your exam and be able to achieve your goals.

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Salmon
  • Berries
  • Eggs
  • Tuna
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Drink lots of water
  • Exercise few times a week

a. Dark Chocolates

​Cheer up Chocolate Lovers! Behind its crunchy, yummy, sweet taste are a great and helpful effect to the body especially to the brain and heart. Dark Chocolates are one of the best antioxidants available now. There are studies that dark chocolates improve your heart and prevent any heart disease. When you eat dark chocolates, your brain produces Serotonin which functions as an anti-depressant and makes you concentrate on your works. I know some of you cannot resist eating dark chocolates but always remember that there'll be always advantages and disadvantages. You may be free from heart disease but in exchange is you acquire diabetes. So it is advisable to eat dark chocolates moderately.

Dark Chocolates for Brains
Dark Chocolates for Brains

b. Nuts and Seeds

What do you think is found in nuts that help our brains? DHA! Yes, nuts contain a significant amount of DHA which is a big benefit to boost your brains especially to infants and aging adults. DHA is an omega 3 fatty acid which is good for the optimization of your brain health and improving it.

On the other hand, seeds function just like the omegas found in nuts. They have a large amount of magnesium which calms an individual's brain.

Nuts for Brains
Nuts for Brains

c. Eggs

Eggs are everywhere! One of the most common foods available on earth is eggs. Eggs are available in the market or any store nearest to your home. Eggs contain Choline which is a vitamin B nutrient and are rich in proteins. Your brain cells use the Choline from the egg intakes to transmit different communications in your brain cells and maintain the sharpness your memory. Eggs also help you think and concentrate on what you are doing and boost your energy levels and alertness.

Eggs for Brains
Eggs for Brains

d. Tuna

​Another brain booster is tuna. Tuna is undeniably a very nutritious food. Just like nuts, tuna also has DHA which primarily helps your brain cell membranes. DHA is a big help repairing the damages in your brain cells for proper communication with your nerves.

Tuna for Brains
Tuna for Brains

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e. Water

Do you know that human brains are composed of 80% water? Yes, you're reading it right. That is why water is very important to human beings. If you become dehydrated, your brain will not function well causing mental fatigue and memory problems. It helps the nutrients in the body to circulate properly.

But do not drink too much water where it can cause you "water poisoning". Water poisoning is the condition where you drink too much water and you neglect the balance of electrolytes in our body.

f. Exercise

Exercise has so many benefits to our physical, mental and intellectual aspect of life. Don't be too lazy to exercise. Exercising few times a week will help your brain function well. Once you exercise, your heart rate will increase thus pumping more oxygen to your brain. It improves an individual's mental skills, memory analyzation, and mental alertness.

If you think exercise is quite boring, then you must be getting it wrong. Exercise is fun if you put a bit of a twist to make it fun. You can make gimmicks out of hundreds of exercises. An example is hip-hop abs. If you are a big fan of hip-hop or you just love dancing, hip-hop abs must be the one right for you. With a variety of forms, hip-hop abs will never be boring plus the if the instructor is humorous.

Pray and Have Faith
Pray and Have Faith

14 Pray

Above all, you should always ask guidance from above. Education is one of the most precious things on earth. With billions of people who doesn't have proper education, be thankful to God the gift and praise him for that. This is an opportunity to glorify your beloved God with everything that you own. Ask from him wisdom and knowledge and let him bless you throughout your exam.

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© 2017 PellucidRay


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    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 11 months ago from Mumbai, India

      Instant. It was very small change. So they changed instantly and featured within hours.

    • JR Cuevas profile image

      PellucidRay 11 months ago from Santa Rosa, Philippines

      How many days or weeks was the edit?

    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 11 months ago from Mumbai, India

      Lol.. I mean three of my articles.. He he he

    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 11 months ago from Mumbai, India

      Yeah, I saw that changes in your article. It looks much better now. And yes, I know hub pro. 3 of your articles were changed by them (only the title though - once they changed removed a capitalised letter, second time they added 'the' to my title, and third time they shortened the title. They don't like my original titles :(

    • JR Cuevas profile image

      PellucidRay 11 months ago from Santa Rosa, Philippines

      Thank you very much, @Imran Khan. I'm so happy that it's finally published and featured after so many attempts and rejections. I did fix the grammar, add more information and delete some of the specific links in the photo capsule. It's quite fulfilling. Thank you for always helping me. Right now, this article is in HubPro mode. Have you experienced it?

    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 11 months ago from Mumbai, India

      Nice article. Clever boy. You got it published :)

      What was the issue?

    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 11 months ago from Mumbai, India

      Welcome to Hubpages John. I see you've successfully cleared two articles from the 'Boot camp.' Congrats for that.

      About your article: I believe it's the title. The content is too generic to the title. Your title has an urgency whereas the content focuses more on a routine to adhere to - like a schedule to follow - which is a long run process. Exam time is crucial time and it needs urgent solutions that can work quickly or in short period of time. During exams: suddenly I cannot follow schedules, or just eat foods and pass the exams, or start sleeping well. Perhaps, if you change the title to 'How to focus during school/college life' or 'how to prepare for studies' or 'how to prepare yourself in advance so as to not panic during exams' might help. The food part suggests the need for a new hub altogether. Like - 'how nutrition helps in brain development' etc. Hope this helps! Good luck!