Preparing and Studying for an Exam

Begin budgeting your time as soon as you know about the exam. Make sure you have sufficient time to study so that you are well prepared for the exam.

Review course materials

Study and practice questions from your textbook.

Spend the majority of your review time on the material that is least familiar and briefly review the the most familiar material.

Review old handouts, notes, quizzes, exams, and papers for clues and information you may have forgotten. If your instructor does not return old tests, ask if you can schedule a time to look at yours so you can analyze the mistakes you made.

Put the main ideas/information/formulas onto a sheet that can be quickly reviewed many times, making it easier to retain the key concepts that will be on the test. Carry this with you to review when you have small bits of time, like standing in lines or waiting at the bus stop.

Attend tutoring or review sessions

Build in tutoring, PAL, or group study as well as individual study time into your preparation schedule.

Learn and study your instructor's "test technique" so that you will know what types of questions are likely to be asked, if long and detailed answers are favored over concise responses, etc.

Attend any review sessions, and pay attention to hints that the instructor may give about the test. Take notes and ask questions of the instructor or TA about items you may be confused about.

Take breaks!

Take a break during intensive study times. 10-15 minutes will refresh you and keep your mind active.

Make sure not to miss the class right before the test; it's another prime time for the instructor to give out more hints or discuss the format of the test.

Don't try to pull an all nighter. We now know that sleeping well for TWO nights before the exam is important for consolidation and recall of information you study.