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Our number one piece of advice for studying for exams? Don’t cram! To avoid cramming, you’ll need a study schedule. We’re here to help you build one that works for you.
Once you know when your exam will be, you can start planning out tasks to prepare. Ask your professor whether or not the exam will be cumulative. This way, you’ll know whether studying old exams will be useful or not. To get the grade you want, you should:
Let’s start with step 1. For a biology test, you might know the Krebs cycle like the back of your hand, but you might be shaky on the stages of mitosis. In order to sharply identify your weak areas, review your notes as well as previous evaluations, like quizzes and other exams. Make a list of questions you got wrong and concepts you find confusing.
You may already be using the Cornell method to take notes. This note-taking method is a great way to keep track of what you don’t know by writing questions in the margins. If you don’t use this method, you might try typing up your notes and adding questions as you prepare. Writing and rewriting your notes will help you identify weak areas, and solidify your memory of material you already know. Once you’ve identified your weak areas, it’s time to study up. This might entail rereading a chapter of your textbook, or bringing your questions to office hours.
Now, let’s tackle step 2. Many students study by reading their notes. But this method is often too passive. You will see plenty of material that you are familiar with. But the most important thing to remember is that the goal is to ensure you can apply your knowledge of the material, not just recognize it. To see if you can apply what you’ve learned, try testing yourself.
There are many different tasks that will help you complete steps 1 and 2. Choose a few below and then pick a day and time this week that you plan to complete these tasks.
Once you’ve chosen some suggestions, download this template and add them to a day before your exam.