PREPARING FOR EXAMINATION
To prepare means to make ready for a specific time and purpose. Preparation enables us to do things more effectively. “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” ——– Alexandra Graham Bell. If you are given a cutlass to chop down a tree, and you took time to sharpen (prepare) the edge, it would take you less time and energy to get the job done than the man who used a blunt cutlass to execute the same task.
Examination is the test of one’s ability to comprehend, memorize and reproduce a particular concept being taught or experienced at a given time. Therefore, preparing for examination requires that every student must get ready, sharpen his or her brain via the learning process of reading, studying, meditating, revision, etc by using the right/effective materials, method and time.
The following tips would help you to prepare well for any examination:
START STUDYING EARLY:
Give yourself more than enough time to review the material that was covered in class. You might want to gauge how soon to start studying by how much material you need to review. For instance, if you have to review material for an entire semester, you might want to start studying a few weeks prior. However, if you are just taking a test that covers material over a few chapters, a week prior or even three to four days may be sufficient. Take note of the following when studying:
- Only you know how long it takes you to study, so you are the best judge of when to start studying.
- If the class material is especially difficult for you, start studying early. Give yourself enough time to truly grasp the material, practice it and then review it.
- Get a full night’s sleep before the exam. Your brain needs time to subconsciously digest everything you’ve put into it, so start early so you don’t have to stay up all night.
GET SOME GOOD NOTES AND READ THROUGH:
If you are not a good note taker, or if there are holes in your notes, then ask a friend if you can copy his or her notes. Good notes can make all the difference when you are studying. A teacher would mention key points/areas that he or she may cover during test or exam. And might not likely find it the textbook or material used if you failed to attend classes.
Also take note while you study. You can highlight or underline the information as well, but writing it down really helps you retain it better. Make sure to write down concepts that you are struggling with or are having a hard time remembering. Break down complex subjects into steps or parts. For instance, if you are trying to learn the order of historical event, list out each event that happened in the order they happened. For instance, First Pauling discovered DNA, then he was awarded a prize. Write down the time frame and events that influenced each happening. Knowing these notes should help you to recall information because they increase your level of understanding.
REVIEW YOUR SYLLABUS/COURSE OUTLINE:
The syllabus or course outline shows everything that you should have learned over the course of the class. It’s a good place to start to understand major ideas and topics that you should be learning from the class. Some teachers write down the page numbers or chapters that each section of the syllabus pertains to in your book. Take note of those pages because you should definitely review them. These are sections that you will need to at least review to make sure you understand the big ideas behind the topics.
RE-READ IMPORTANT SELECTIONS OF THE TEXTBOOK:
In some books, each chapter has a short reiew or summary. This is a great place to quickly review and get a gist of a concept. All of the titled sections of the book from the syllabus should be re-read so that you can pull out important information. While you re-read these concepts that you are supposed to be learning from those sections of the textbook. Write down important details as you read. Note the chapter titles and section titles as you read.
DO PRACTICE/STUDY QUESTIONS:
Practice doing the questions in the book that you were assigned for homework. Re-do extra questions that you got wrong, and try to figure out why you got them wrong. Do practice questions until you feel more comfortable with the subject matter.
REVIEW PAST QUESTION PAPERS:
If you have a friend who has taken the test the year or semester before, ask him or her if you can see the past questions & answers. Take note of the questions that were asked, the answers and the ones that were marked correct and incorrect. Although, reviewing past exams might not give you the exact questions that will appear on your exam. It would give you an idea of how the information will be tested. It also will tell you how the exam will be scored. You’ll know if you should give long detailed answers or if your answers should be straight to the point. If you are able to review past questions with answers on it, pay attention to answers that were given high marks and those that were not.
FORMING STUDY GROUPS:
Get together with a friend or group of people from your class and study together. It doesn’t have to be a formal study group. You can simply review each other’s notes to see what you may have missed. You can discuss concepts you think will be covered on the test/exam. Sometimes you can learn more about the information by simply discussing the concepts in a conversation with someone other than your teachers. It may help you understand a concept in different ways, and it might even deepen your understanding.
ON THE DAY OF THE EXAM:
Scientists believe that a good night’s rest is the key to better test scores. So endeavor to sleep well the previous night prior to your exam. An hour or a half before the exam, start running through all themes and sub-topics in your head. Like always, check your notes if you get stuck. Use your flashcards to help you commit all the details to memory if they are not already memorized. Stop studying at least thirty(30) minutes before the exam, but an hour is preferable. If you have given yourself enough time, you should feel well prepared and relaxed.