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How To Prepare For Exams Effectively

Updated on March 11, 2016

Exams are extremely important. Without passing them, you cannot get a degree. In turn, this can affect what kind of career you can have depending on what degree you have if any. In a way, your while life depends a great deal on those exams. It is therefore important that you do all you can to pass those exams.

In order to stand a good chance of passing exams, you will of course need to prepare. But just preparing beforehand is not enough. How you prepare is also very important. Too many people do things that reduce the effectiveness of their exam preparation, which in turn is reflected in their results on the exam.

The issue is not really how much time they spent, but how they spent their time. Instead, what people should look for is an organized and more effective way in dealing with their problem.


How to prepare for a test the wrong way

Many people go about the wrong way when they study for a test. The usual approach is often not optimal and can be improved. Here are some of the things people do that they shouldn't:

  • Leave everything until the last moment. If you do this, you really need to change as soon as possible if you wish to do well on exams.
  • Altering your daily pattern when an exam is coming up is not a good idea. You body has its own rhythm that you disturb by waking up earlier or going to bed later at night.
  • Staying up late at night studying is just a sign that you should become more organized and did not really prepare properly.
  • Showing up dead tired on the day of the exam. That's also a sign that you need to do a better job preparing beforehand.
  • Studying continuously until they can no longer stay awake is counterproductive. When you're sleepy, you can't concentrate as well and you're not using your time effectively.

If you're doing any of this, you need to find a way to change and improve your exam preparation.


How to prepare for an exam properly step by step

Here's an alternative approach to studying for an exam that will be much more effective.

  • As soon as you know what will be on the exam and when the exam will be, you need to plan accordingly.
  • Determine how much time you have to study compared to what will be covered on the exam and allocate the material evenly by the number of days.
  • Be realistic in how you allocate time. Subjects that are more complicated should be given more time to go through everything.
  • The schedule you create should not interrupt your normal schedule when there is no exam. Go to bed at around the same time and get enough sleep.
  • You should strive to be done studying at least two whole days prior to the exam and more preferably. Keep in mind to reserve time for emergencies that may throw you off track.
  • The material that you need to cover should be divided into major and minor milestones that you need to keep along the way.
  • For example, each day is a major milestone where you need to have covered a certain amount of material.
  • Each major milestone is in turn divided into minor milestones that you need to complete so that you complete your exam preparation in time.
  • Always use study breaks. For example a five minute break after each 40 to 45 minutes of serious studying and not fooling around.
  • You may also want to reward yourself when you've completed a milestone. It can help you stay motivated.

The key is to be organized, plan properly and stay disciplined.


A few exam preparation tips to keep in mind

Your preparation for the tests will be easier with these tips.

  • Try to be disciplined. If that means saying no to your friends when they want to go out because you have to study, then that's what you have to do.
  • Pay attention in class and keep track of what subjects are more difficult. It will help you prepare by knowing what to focus on for the exam.
  • Keep up with the homework. You can never be sure if you've really understood the material unless you try the homework for yourself.
  • If there is something that's distracting you from your studies, take care of it first and then go back to studying.
  • Stick to a consistent pattern. Wake up and go to bed at roughly the same time every day, while getting enough sleep. You should never be skipping on sleeping no matter what.



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    • Exam Masters profile image

      Vishal Mody 2 years ago from Toronto

      Good advice! I would also suggest that studying with a buddy can be very beneficial - find someone who is as determined to ace the exam as you. More than 2 ppl studying together may be more harmful than good because they may start socializing instead of focusing on studying.

      Also, don't forget to prevent burn out by taking one day or one evening off to go out and do things like watch movies or hangout with friends.

    • profile image

      madhu 2 years ago

      very motivated me to study......

    • profile image

      3 years ago

      Such a helpful site!!

    • johntsang profile image

      John Tsang 4 years ago

      Thank you!

    • hafsa omar profile image

      Hafsa Omar AL-Ansari 4 years ago from Oman

      Interesting topic.. i like it ..