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How to Prepare
for a College Exam

college planning articles and tips

 

Every semester, your professors will outline your schedule and that information will likely offer details about quizzes and assignments, as well as term papers and exams. Your final exam may have a significant impact on your overall grade and, therefore, should be approached with great care. Exam preparation can be crammed, but if you want to achieve the highest possible grade and retain what you learn, a much more nuanced approach should be followed. Let's examine five steps you can take to prepare for a college exam.

1. Take good notes. No student can possibly succeed in college without taking good notes. For some students note taking comes easy as they are able to write down what they hear and review those notes later. For other students, note taking is difficult and they may find that recording lectures and playing it back later helps them to absorb what has been taught. Find the right note taking method for you and stay with that.

2. Participate in your classes. Students that actively participate in class are more likely to retain what they learn. If your professor makes a point and you need clarification, raise your hand and ask for that. When the instructor is encouraging dialogue, participate. Besides helping you to understand and to apply what you learn, your professor may count classroom participation as part of your final grade. Perhaps a small part, but maybe enough to help you achieve a higher grade.

3. Review your notes regularly. Taking notes is one thing, but reviewing your notes promptly is very important too. Make a point to read over your notes on a daily basis, and rewrite what you do not understand. Some students may find it beneficial to develop an outline to sum up their class notes, offering them a way to learn and retain classroom material. These outlines can come in very handy later when you step up your studying just before the exam.

4. Use your textbook. Your textbook is given to you for a reason. Your professor may frequently make reference to it and you can count on your exam making reference to it as well. Some students may find that highlighting key points in the textbook allows them to retain this information better. Use a highlighter, a pen and a ruler to mark up key points on a page. Take this information and write it down in outline form in your notes too. If you do not want to mark up your textbook, you can use sticky notes instead. Simply write your notes on each note and stick it the appropriate page. This method is necessary if you rent your textbook or plan to sell it later.

5. Step up your studying. As you get closer to your mid-term or final exam, set aside more time to study. There is no need to cram here as you have been studying all along. Review your outlines or play back your professor's recorded messages that you have saved. Work with charts, diagrams and graphs to make your material more understandable. Consider studying with other students that are disciplined and willing to discuss their notes. Eat right and get ample rest leading up to your exam.

Exam Considerations

Know well in advance what type of examination will be given. It may be multiple choice, an essay or require short and long answers. Some professors allow for an open book exam, but be careful here: you will need to drill down quickly and efficiently as you look for answers. For exams that are not multiple choice, your professor will want you to form your answer in your own words. Know what the experts have to say and be prepared to cite these sources and to add your unique perspective.

Reference
DuPage University: Tips for Effective Study -- http://www.cod.edu/people/faculty/fancher/study.htm

Author Information
Sameer Bhatia is the founder of ProProfs.com(www.proprofs.com/training/ ), which provides course development software to businesses, educators and students.

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