5 Innovative Tips to Prepare for Exams

Commit to a Study Method to Find Success and Peace


Haley Longfellow, Editorial Board

Many Oakton students can agree that this is the craziest time of year. Just as extracurricular activities are in full swing, making students very busy, nature is coming into full-bloom, provoking allergies. Most daunting, though, is the fact that exams are quickly approaching, casting an increasingly heavy shadow. Students are feeling frantic as they try to cram an entire year’s worth of content into their brains for most of their classes.

Having a plan that will allow you to successfully cover all of the material you need to know for your exams is key. Committing to a study system will help relieve tension; you will be safe in knowing that, if you follow your plan, you will learn what you need to learn in a timely manner. Here are some unique study methods that you can try.

     1. Utilize Sticky Notes

Need to cover a huge span of content? No problem. Go through your textbook and create a single sticky note for each chapter. On this sticky note, focus on outlining the main ideas of the chapter as concisely as possible. Then, look away from the sticky note and try to explain what is written down. Keep your sticky notes in order in a safe spot, and refer to them frequently. Often times, students miss the forest for the trees when they concentrate solely on small details within certain units that are nearly impossible to remember. Having a sense of sequential, common themes from the entire year can bring on a sense of confidence as well as a remembrance of other details. Furthermore, knowing basic ideas can soothe anxiety; it is unlikely that you will know absolutely nothing about a topic mentioned on an exam.

     2. Study Select Details

This tip is directed towards students taking AP history exams. On these exams, students will be required to write essays in which they must provide evidence to back up their statements if they want to earn points. If you end up having to write an essay on a topic that you do not know much about, simply knowing a few select details that you can incorporate can be a game changer. Go through your textbook, and record one fact per chapter in a well-thought-out manner. Rewrite these facts on another sheet of paper to help you get a firm grasp on them. Remember, in your essay, you will not need to explain all information related to a topic.

     3. Hold Review Sessions with Friends

Create a study group! Schedule a few Facetime sessions, and plan ahead for what you will discuss so that you will not get off task. Some suggestions for what to discuss are past tests or homework assignments, given key concepts, and headings of textbook chapters. Bounce ideas and knowledge off of one another, as talking about subjects can be an effective way to remember them.

     4. Familiarize Yourself with Formulas

Need to memorize formulas? First off, go through the accessible material for each unit you have done in class. Write down all of the formulas accompanied by a short explanation. Then, display them on a whiteboard or large piece of paper in a space that you spend a lot of time in. This will help you familiarize yourself with the formulas.

     5. Improve Your Focus

Arguably, one of the hardest parts of exams is the fact that you are under a restrictive time crunch. It can be quite difficult to hone in on what you are doing and truly concentrate on the task at hand, but this is key to taking exams. Being able to focus will serve you well, as you will waste less time fretting and thinking about other things. That being said, it can be very challenging to concentrate, so you should practice centering your focus now. For example, complete one or two homework assignments without stopping in one sitting. You can also turn to meditation, as it is linked to better focus; the practice calls for you to reign your brain in and focus on nothing at all. Meditating for just five minutes a day could help you on your exams. Not to mention, it is a great way to relieve stress. Even if you are unprepared for a test, being able to focus can allow you to reach conclusions in an innovative manner.

When the time comes for you to take your exams, remember that it is impossible to know every single thing about a subject. As it has been said, work smarter, not harder, to prepare; commit to a study method, and focus on understanding the material at hand so that you can reach conclusions independently. Stop weighing the amount of work you need to do to get ready for your exams and start studying!

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