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10 Effective Tips For Studying And Preparing For Exams

Updated on September 19, 2017

It is a certainty many students are terrified at the thought of sitting for an exam paper. If truth be told, some people have developed a phobia for exams. However, once a person realizes the true nature of exams, i.e., the purpose of exams, then there would be no need of treating it as something that is enormous.

Exams are meant to test how much a student knows in a specific subject or course unit. It doesn’t mean because a student has failed he/she is a fool or stupid. This is far from the truth. Exams cannot measure a person’s intelligence. It is not accurate as it has its limits.

The following timely tips will help you in preparing yourself for an examination including effective ways of studying for an exam paper.


1. Don’t Fret

You shouldn’t fear sitting for an exam paper since it’s part of learning. Realize the expectation of the exam is to find out how far you know in a given subject or course unit.

Several days to several hours before the examination date begins, practice relaxation techniques such as breathing in deeply then exhaling slowly.

Remember, exam is not meant to be passed with flying colors but to determine the extent of knowledge you possess in a given area of learning.

2. Don’t Cram

Cramming might help but not overly. It is easier to forget what you had crammed than what you know. There are situations which will warrant the need to cram but not in exams. You might remember some of the things you studied but forget majority of what you had crammed. When it comes to cramming, it’s better to cram formulas. Nonetheless, you don’t need to cram formulas; you need to know them by heart.


3. Believe In Yourself

During an examination, many of us convince ourselves we will fail. Actually, some people believe they were meant to fail. This is how I felt during my high school years. I used to believe I was never meant to succeed and the fruits of believing this led to my failing (not miserably) in the high school national examination. Nowadays, I know nobody was meant to be a failure, we are all meant to succeed. People who have low self-esteem form the bulk of people who believe they were not meant to succeed or they can never succeed. Fight off such negative thoughts because it isn’t the truth.

4. Take Notes

One of the best ways of studying a topic or subject is by jotting down in note form what you’ve studied. On a piece of paper or exercise book write down the most important points. After you have done this, take off some time to refresh your mind. Go for a walk, listen to music, watch a movie, read a novel or find an activity that will refresh your mind.

Once you come back, on a separate piece of paper or exercise book write each point providing your own explanation. As soon as you have finished this exercise, check your explanations against the notes you had written in your exercise book or refer to the textbook. This is the best way to remember and know a subject or topic in a greater detail.


5. Relax Before Exams

Two to three days before the commencement of the exam don’t engage yourself in revising the concerned subjects. Your brain needs to rest. If you enter the examination room with your brain clouded with a lot of information that it has gathered in a short period of time, it will be not be difficult to bring it to remembrance on a question seeking for an answer.

When your brain is at rest and feels refreshed, you will not need to force it to remember something. The answer will come out automatically. The most important thing you need to ponder during the exam is how to answer the question not what the answer is.

6. Don’t Study For Long Hours

When you study for long hours you will tire your brain. It translates to cramming because the end result will be forgetting a lot of what you had learned. Study for short periods of time, ensuring you have enough time to rest before going back to studying again.

Remember, when you study your brain is at work. If you overwork it, it will become exhausted. The exhaustion will spread to your physical body which will make it hard to concentrate on what you are studying.

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7. Study In Bits

Study in bits so that your brain can be able to digest properly the information you’ve studied. Don’t gulp a lot of information either in a short or long period of time. Even if the brain can store a lot of information, it can end up functioning slowly because it has been overstuffed with a lot of information.

When you study in bits the brain will be able to filter the information you have studied with ease.

8. Don’t Study For Exams

Don’t study with the intention of passing a given exam, study in order to know something clearly and lucidly. Once you have a clear understanding of a topic then your brain will become conversant with that information. You will not arrive at a point whereby you force your brain to bring to remembrance certain information or detail. Instead, you will know it because the brain understood what you had studied.

Learning and studying is a lifelong process. Exams are part of learning not the ultimate of learning. You should always learn and study in order to become knowledgeable about something, not in order to have answers when you sit for a paper.

Don’t study for exams, study in order to learn not to learn in order to study.


9. Don’t Wait Till Exam To Study

As noted above, don’t wait till the announcement of the commencement of exams that’s when you become busy revising different subjects or units. You will end up cramming not exactly revising. If your aim of learning is to pass exams you will never pass in the exams. Nevertheless, when you consider exam is part of learning to assist in understanding a subject clearly then you will perform well in your exams.

10. Test Yourself

Always test yourself. Test yourself to see whether you have understood a subject or topic. Don’t wait until your teacher gives you an exercise or assignment. You can test yourself by setting up your own questions then answering them. After you have answered the questions ask the concerned teacher or someone knowledgeable in the area you’re studying to mark your self-tested questions. This is one of the best ways of finding out how much you know in a given topic or subject.


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