tips to succeed in exams
Set your goal
. Read the course overview to understand what the course will cover and how it will be scored. Identify your goal in concrete terms and put it in writing to strengthen your resolve.
Manage your time
. Time management skills can help you take control of your study workload, achieve more, and stress out less. There are many ways to make time work with you, instead of against you. Purchase an academic diary or study planner. Buy one which provides a week at a glance or a month at a glance view, so you can get a holistic view of the time you have available. Find out assignment due dates and quiz/test/exam dates and mark them in your study planner
Identify your learning style
. Take a learning style assessment test and find out if you are a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner. This self knowledge can help you make more effective use of your time. Remember, your learning style may be quite different from that of family members and friends. Adapting your study method to suit your own natural style will enable you to produce powerful results in less time.
Develop a study plan
. For each course, figure out how much time you will need to spend outside of class, in order to keep up and in order to do well. Plan a study schedule that allows you to stay in control of the academic workload.
Keep up with reading
. Particularly in college or university, staying up to date in terms of your reading is critical to your success. When you attend a lecture without having completed the required reading, you lose a valuable opportunity to add to your understanding.
Develop effective note taking techniques
. A variety of note taking styles can help you record key information and see the bigger picture in terms of subject matter. Good note taking strategies can help you make the most of the time spent reading from textbooks and attending classes.
Attend classes regularly
. Be an active learner. Attend lectures regularly and participate whenever possible. The interaction will help you to remember more than if you sit passively in class, dreaming of other things.
Create mind maps
. Mind maps are graphic organizers, developed by Tony Buzan, which can help you summarize vital information from lectures and textbooks. Each topic can be condensed onto a page; each chapter can be encapsulated onto a larger map. Eventually, you can develop a mind map to review the key sections of each course and get a broad view of how each topic relates to the others. Then, to review before an exam, see if you can reconstruct the map. In this way
Surround yourself with learning
. Create a 24 hour learning environment by putting up review charts and points where you can see them daily on mirrors, doors, fridge, bathroom, television, or bedside table. If possible, purchase a white board and dry erase markers, so you can test your recall by reproducing the mind maps. Use bright colored markers, include images to trigger your memory and most of all, have fun.
Work with concentration
. Its in your interest! One hour of concentrated study is worth several hours of distracted study. If you learn how to work with concentration, you will achieve more than 95% of the population. This critical skill enables you to do more in less time and is one of the distinguishing features of super achievers around the world.
Apply memory techniques
. Take the time to learn different memory techniques and practice applying them in a variety of academic and professional contexts. Understand the basic memory principles upon which your brain works and learn some tips for improving your memory. The more you exercise your memory muscle, the stronger it will be and the more confidence you will have in your ability to recall information when you need it most.
Use all your intelligences
. Are you aware of the concept of multiple intelligences? Do you know it doesnt matter how smart you are but rather how you are smart? This concept was introduced by Howard Gardiner of Harvard University. It explains the number of different ways in which a human can have intelligence and how this self knowledge can help us live, work, and study more efficiently.
Understand your study topics in your own words
. Your teacher or lecturer can explain something to you, you can learn it from a text book, your friends can study with you, even your own notes can explain it to you but all these explanations are of little use if, by the end, you cant explain what you have learned to yourself. If you dont understand a study concept that you need to illustrate in an exam to get top exam results, then you wont be happy with your end exam result. To combat this, get
Dont be afraid to ask study questions
. Of course, depending on what youre studying, it may be quite difficult to get into a position to understand a concept,theory or other information you need to learn. This is where it is invaluable to ask questions of your teachers, lecturers or other educators. Dont be afraid of asking a stupid question there really is no such thing when it comes to study and learning! Embrace your curiosity, for as William Arthur Ward said
. Once you feel you understand a concept or a topic, it is important to test yourself on it. Try and replicate exam conditions as much as possible turn your phone off, dont talk, time yourself etc. You can set yourself a study quiz or practice exam questions and, so long as you approach it with the right mindset, you can get a very good idea of how much you know. You gain a greater insight into where you stand in relation to what youve studied so f
Get Creative with online study tools
. Dont feel obliged to just sit in front of a book with a highlighter; there are many different ways to study. You should pick whatever works for you. Try using as many study tools and techniques as possible to help you study better and find what works best for you. Perfect examples of such study tools would be online flashcards, mind maps, mnemonics, online study planners, video and audio resources. Login to your ExamTime account now to access you
Set your study goals and create a flexible study plan
. In order to achieve exam success you need to know what you want to achieve. Thats why it is extremely important to set your Study Goals now and outline to yourself what you need to do. With your study goals in mind and your end of year exams weeks and months away it makes sense to have a flexible study plan as opposed to a rigid one. The closer you get to your exams the more concrete your study plan should be, but at this point it should be porou
Make use of mnemonics
. This involves using key alphabets to remember and retrieve large amounts of information.
. You need to love and have interest in the subject you want to study. Interest forms a magic elixir and motivates you to learn, and it will help change your wrong concept of studies as a mental torture
Change your study environment
. Recalling information becomes much easier when you attach significance to the surroundings you studied in. A new environment also breaks the routine and this makes learning more interesting.
Do not procrastinate
. When mentally tired or when laziness creeps into your study time, do yourself justice by simply reading through the subject material. Read with comprehension and understanding. This will help you tie up information on the day of exams.
Trust yourself and your memory
. Self doubt will set you back and these feelings will inhibit your study programme.
Try the verbal approach
. Read out loudly. This method utilizes two sensory systems. One is the audio hearing and the other is visual seeing. Another alternative is to let someone else recite the information out to you. This technique is very useful as you will associate the study material with a different voice at the back of your mind.
Study well in advance
. This will give you more control and enough time to tie up loose ends. Knowing that you have control over the situation, will ensure greater success. This will also avoid nervousness and unnecessary exam jitters.
Before the Final Exam
. Review key points that your professor made during class. If he chose to emphasize this material, it is likely important enough to include on the final exam. Find content in your readings that supports your key points. This supporting material can help you build a strong argument for an essay final exam.Make flash cards with key terms. Write the term on the front of the flash card and the definition or explanation on the back of the card. For exam
During the Exam
. Read directions thoroughly. If an essay question asks for three examples from class readings, then give three no more, no less. If multiple choice questions can have more than one answer, remember that as you work through the exam. Paying attention to directions is a simple way to improve your final exam grade.Manage your time. Assess how many questions you have to answer in the time allowed. Don t waste time struggling through a question that c
. Once youre exam is complete, reward yourself for all your hard work have a nice meal, a night out, a night in with friends, watch a movie or read a good book. Even if you have another exam the next day, still do something that you really enjoy as a reward for your study, just dont over indulge!
Organise your time
. The most helpful strategy Dan could adopt is to set time limits. In the short term, this would give him an idea of when his work would finish. As it is, he simply gives himself all evening. This is very inefficient. Time limits would also help him complete his long term tasks in good time. Left to his own devices, he wastes precious weeks his procrastination is understandable, given that he finds working so difficult . A timetable would be a go
Creating a Study Plan
. As the exam nears, you will need to create a plan to help you study effectively and minimize stress. The first step is to figure out how much time and effort you must dedicate to studying for the exam by asking the following questions.To prepare the study plan, map out all of the material that has to be covered and make a schedule showing what, when and how much you will study each day. If you have kept up with the course work, studying will invo
Studying for the Exam
. You are now armed with a plan and ready to start studying for the exam. Try to study in a location where you can concentrate and won t be interrupted. You can work with others or join a study group if you find it helpful, but be careful to keep it from turning into an inefficient use of your time. Some proven study tools and techniques are listed below people respond to different learning styles, so use what works for you.
. Allocate sufficient time in your study plan for revision towards the end of the exam preparation. Going through the whole study text when only two or three days remain in the exams is not recommended. You would probably feel overly exhausted and stressed from trying to retain the information contained in the study texts in such a short span of time. A better approach would be to draft your own study notes through out the exam session which you co
Sleep well before the exam
. Ever got the feeling that you are suddenly forgetting everything you have learned right before the exam? It was probably because you stayed up too late the night before the examination. A good rest before the exam is essential in order to remain alert and focused during the exam. While it may be very tempting at 3 am in the night before the exam to study one final chapter , fact is you would probably be doing yourself more harm than good. Sleep
. Effective use of the 15 minute planning and reading time could help you to produce more relevant, well planned and structured answers in the exam. Reading time is ideal for highlighting and understanding the key requirements of all questions. Remaining time could be used to draft brief answer plans and in case of Professional Stage examinations, you may use this time to select the most appropriate optional questions you wish to answer.
. lose attention should be given to the precise requirement of each question. If it appears to you that two parts of a question are asking the same thing, don t congratulate yourself but rather read the question carefully again. It is important to have understanding of what the examiner is demanding before you proceed to answer the question. It would be a waste of time if you realized half way through the answer that you have misinterpreted the req
Plan you Answers
. Examiners always appreciate well structured answers. A little planning at the start could help you give the necessary structure and coherence to your answers. Try to insert short answer plans before the answers which should be crossed afterwards to avoid confusing the examiner. This gives examiner the impression that you have tried to organize your answers and also, in case time runs out, an answer plan mentioning the key points could be rewarded
After the Exam
. If you have another exam scheduled soon, try not to waste too much time discussing the exam you have already given with your friends especially if it did not go too well! . Go home, get a good rest and come fresh and well prepared for the next exam. I hope you have found these tips helpful. Please share this article with your friends if you found it useful! I will be posting some exam specific advice for ACCA students soon. Best of luck with you
Look at past papers
. This prepares you for the types of question you will be asked, and the time you will have to answer each question. If there has been any major change in the format of the examination, then you will have been told about this in the course literature.
Essay style questions
. In a few Honours examinations you might be asked to write long essays time allocation of 1.5 hours or even 3 hours . However, this does not mean that you have to write for 1.5 or 3 hours. Instead, it means that you have enough time to assemble your thoughts and construct your answer carefully. The answer itself might not take more than 1 hour or 1.5 hours to write. In all other examinations the essay style questions are shorter. For example,
Short answer questions
. SAQs typically have 8 10 minutes time allocation but check this carefully, because the time allocation does vary . The best approach to these questions is to produce short notes, with as much relevant information as possible in the time allowed. If you really know the material you should get full marks for these questions.