The Insider Guide to Exam Preparation
Jun 10, 2012 Study Skills 1957 Views
Good exam preparation is about planning and discipline. Applying rigor and good self-discipline to one's efforts will put them in good stead for doing one's best. Here is a guide one can use to prepare and help ensure success on examination day.
Time is the most important aspect of studying for an examination. The earlier one can get started the more material that can be adequately and thoroughly covered. How much time is needed depends on a number of factors, namely the amount of material to be covered and the difficulty of the material. When deciding how much time is necessary, break down the material in manageable subject and sub-subject components. Based on the extent of the material, one can allocate the applicable amount of study time needed. Be realistic with estimates.
Once you have a sense of the number of hours you need to dedicate to the material determine how many hours a day or week one can devote to studying. It is also important to be realistic, but don't underestimate things either. Allocating only a few hours a week will not get the job done. One should try and devote some time just about every day to their study and preparation efforts.
With these two things in mind - how many hours to cover the material and how many hours a week one can devote to study - it is time to lay out a plan. Working backward from the exam date will give you an estimate of the length of time needed for preparation. If you've waited too long to start your preparation you'll have to up the hours of study to get all the material in.
Next is to commit the study plan to paper. Something all education and test prep experts agree on is that one's study plan should be specific and detailed. Do not simply allocate general study time on the calendar, but specify what material is to be covered and using what study method. Reading, a necessary part of study, is not always the most effective means of study. If one has notes from coursework, take time to review. It might also be worthwhile to consolidate notes as a way to activate different learning modes. Varying one's study approach is important to combat fatigue, and activates and stimulates the learning and retention centers of the brain. Some like to develop mind maps of different subjects. Perhaps an online review or video is a good option.
Be sure to utilize practice examinations along the way to gauge progress and to familiarize one's self with the examination format. Add specific dates on your study calendar for practice exams and consider carefully your results and use them to adapt your plan. Devote more time to weaker areas or change up study habits and approach. If one is struggling with the practice exams it might be worth investigating a paid examination prep course. These can be very helpful in breaking down material and providing test taking strategies.
Lastly, do not underestimate the importance of health and nutrition. Get plenty of exercise and proper nutrition. Taking breaks for exercise during this time is good for retaining things in the memory banks. As with all activities related to exam prep, put specific times for exercise and relaxation into your calendar.
Examinations are important for furthering one's education and career. Taking the time to properly plan and prepare is key to success. Focus on success and keep a positive outlook. This will also put you in a good position for scoring well.