Exam preparation tipsChen Wan Lim
Early preparation is key. Do not wait until the final hour sacrificing sleep to start revising and cramming everything only to find out that the actual examination questions are different from what you have revised. According to research done by UCLA professor of psychiatry Andrew J. Fulign, sacrificing sleep to either do last minute studying or trying to finish a week’s worth of homework in one night is counterproductive. In his research, he noted that students who sacrifice sleep time in order to study more than usual are likely to have more academic problems, not less, on the following day. Here are some helpful tips to get you prepared for exam week:
Tip 1: Get organised
Organise your study materials and study space before you actually start studying. Putting everything into proper order will help reduce unwanted distractions such as missing notes, flickering lights, cold air conditioning or even noisy friends. While some might prefer complete silence, some might prefer a little ambient noise. Depending on your preference, get a place which is suited to your liking and get all study materials ready.
Tip 2: Do not multitask
A study done by Zheng Wang from the Ohio State University indicated that people often feel good by multitasking as it gives them an emotional boost. However, multitasking is actually found to be inefficient and less impactful especially when studying.
Tip 3: Practice old exam questions
A time tested and proven the way of preparing for exams is to practise old examination papers. During your tutorials, ask the course tutor to provide some old examination questions to practise on. The idea of practising old examination questions is not to try to guess potential questions that might be asked, but rather to familiarise yourself with the question format, question style and time allocation given.
Tip 4: Organise study groups
A few study group sessions can be effective before an exam especially if you are not familiar with some topics within the subject. Get someone with a strong understanding of the subject and is willing to explain to you along with helping you with some sample questions before the exam. In return, you can teach the other person topics which he or she might not be strong in. For organising an effective study group, refer to our related article on “Starting an Effective Study Group”.
Tip 5: Focus on what is important only
Not everything will be asked in the examination paper. So, do not waste time ‘over-studying’ the entire textbook. Only focus on things or topics which are important as advised by your course instructor. Researchers from the University of South Florida and UC San Diego found that the law of diminishing returns sets in during overlearning. Since time is limited for each study session for each subject, only study the important topics, test your understanding on it and once you have an adequate understanding of it, move on to the next topic.
Tip 6: Plan your examination day
Finally, do plan your examination day in advance. Make mental notes on the examination time, travelling time and rules and requirements (approved calculators especially). You would also want to wake up earlier and leave earlier to avoid unwanted delays in your journey and arriving panicky into the examination hall.