Tips for Doing Well on Exams
Test yourself before the examination.
You should practise the information you have been learning. You may work in a group, but make sure the group isn’t just a social gathering in which very little “study” is accomplished.
By self-testing you will be able to monitor how well you have mastered the material. It is much better to find out what you don’t know before the exam. You will have time to brush up on weak areas or information you have forgotten.
Find out as much as you can about the exam.
- What kind of exam will it be: multiple choice, true/false, short answer, essay?
- What material will be on the exam?
- What is the relative importance of different topics on the exam?
- What is the time limit for the exam?
- If the teacher doesn’t automatically give you this information, ask him/her. Usually teachers are receptive to students who want to know how to prepare.
Try to predict what might be stressed on the exam.
If the teacher has stressed certain areas in class, these are probably going to be on the exam and likely to count for more marks.
Learn the teacher’s testing habits.
Looking back at a teacher’s previous tests and exams will give you an idea of his/her general format and the kinds of questions he/she usually asks.
Some teachers tend to look for details while others look for the “big picture” or general themes and ideas – knowing what a teacher is looking for can reduce the amount of preparation time, but – even better – can increase the accuracy of your preparation.
During review, ask yourself questions you think might be on the test.
If you have used SQ3R and solid note-taking tips, you will know the key points and major ideas of the course. With some practice, you will be able to predict many of the questions that will actually be on the test. Preparing to answer these questions beforehand will put you miles ahead – answering the same or similar questions on the exam will be easy!!
Prepare for the type of test questions you expect.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle before the test.
• get a good night’s sleep
• eat breakfast (if the exam is in the afternoon – eat lunch)
Your mind will work better if you take care of your body. They are not exclusively separate entities.
If you really must cram for the exam, do it intelligently.
Pick out the most important parts of your notes or text for study.
Scan and survey for general information.
Note: Try to break yourself of this habit of procrastination and cramming for next time – use the tools you have at your disposal now to schedule and follow through with a PLAN to reach goals.
Be anti-social right before an exam.
Do not discuss the exam with other nervous students just before the exam. This will make you second-guess yourself and increase anxiety.
These strategies help you to work smarter not harder.
Making it or breaking it in the first five minutes.
• Put your name on the test papers or answer sheets.
• Read and understand the general directions.
• Don’t skip over the directions – listen to instructor’s additional directions (if any) – underline any key words in the directions.
Do you need to answer all of the questions or is there a choice?
How are you supposed to record my answers? – pencil, pen, on the test sheet / separate sheet or booklet – special pencil for computer scoring?
Survey the entire test.
• How many questions are there?
• How many pages, and are they all there?
• Are their different weights given to different sections or questions? (Knowing this will help you divide your time appropriately –giving more time to the heavily weighted sections.)
Jot down initial thoughts.
As you survey, you may want to jot down key terms or ideas that pop into your mind. You will be able to use them in your more thorough answer later.
Plan how you will spend your time during the exam.
Portion out your time according to the worth of different exam sections.
REMEMBER: Always leave a few minutes at the end to review your work and ensure you haven’t made any silly mistakes – especially important for essay type answers. You might be surprised at what you find!
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