It’s that time of year when teachers are handing out review packets of materials students need to know for exams. The mere weight of the review material is enough to send students into panic.
Follow these few steps to make exam preparation easy and successful.
- Face that review packet with confidence. There are many items you already know. So go through the list and check off all the ones you know. (The test is you must be able to summarize or define the item in 1-2 sentences to knock it off the list.)
- Go back through the list and count the number of items you need to review.
- Divide that number by the number of days to prepare. Be sure to leave at least one extra day to review the complete list.
- Once you have completed your study right up to the night before the exam, it is time to put all your study materials away. DO NOT LOOK AT THEM AGAIN! You are as prepared as you are going to be. Last minute study only adds angst and frustration.
- A good night’s sleep after you have completed your final review is the best way to let the material solidify in your brain.
Often teachers will give you an idea of the essay questions they might ask.
- Review these topics thoroughly.
- Make a list of the key words; elements, dates, people associated with the topic. (If you have been using the Cornell Note Taking Method I advised in The Best & Easiest Note Taking Method blog post, you will already have the key words listed on the right hand side of each page of notes.)
- To remember the key words for your essay, it often helps to make up a silly sentence . (i.e. When I go to the grocery store with a list in my head, a silly sentence helps me to remember what I need to buy. For example: Milk, bread, potatoes, chicken, water, tomatoes. I might say to myself: My brother plays catch with Tom. Studies show that a silly sentence is easier to recall than just a list of words.)
- When you are given your exam booklet, first jot down your silly sentence at the top of the page, so you won’t have to carry the burden of remembering it for later when you are ready to write the essay.
- Some students like to practice writing their essays in advance. There really is no need as long as you have the key words put to memory.
Hint: Teachers have too many essays to read each one thoroughly. They generally scan to see that the key words have been included to prove your understanding of the topic.
Please let me know how this works for you and of any topics you would like me to address in future blog posts.
Relax this winter holiday with a virtual adventure in the South Pacific. Get your copy of PANDU and be swept away.