Investigate the exam

Get all the facts about the exam. Look in your syllabus for information. Talk with the instructor if you have questions.

  • How many questions will be on the final exam? How much time do you have to complete the exam?
  • What kind of questions will be on the exam (e.g. multiple choice, essay, short answer, problem-solving)?
  • Which concepts are most important? Which chapters should you focus on reviewing?

Look over past exams

Look over the past tests with the above questions in mind. If your professor does not allow you to keep previous exams, ask to make an appointment to look them over.

Practice doing what you will be doing on the test

Study in the same style of the test. Is your test a problem-solving test? Study by solving problems. Is your test on conjugating Spanish verbs? Study by conjugating Spanish verbs.

Quiz yourself. Ask yourself: “If I were making up this test, I would probably ask…” and then answer these questions.

Complete a practice test

Figure out what you do not know by completing a practice test 3-4 days before an exam. After you identify areas of difficulty, focus your remaining study time on those concepts. 

  • Textbooks often have questions at the end of chapters. Try to answer these questions on paper without using your notes.
  • Identify potential essay questions. Close your books, set a time limit, and practice writing your responses.
  • Have a friend ask you practice questions out loud or try one of these other study activities. Base the practice questions on concepts in the textbook or in your notes.