All the students ask this question every year- How do I Ace my exam?
Every second person who has experienced college life always has unique advice for students, like Studying hard, Giving mock tests, hiring a tutor, or joining tuition classes. But very few people have an idea about doing well on exams. All this advice is generic.
Students feel very restless when they see exams are coming. They get worried about getting good grades, doing good on their exam, etc. These problems are very common. Every year, we talk to 1000s of students looking for counseling and guidance to prepare for their upcoming tests. Sometimes, it’s regular college exams, and sometimes, it’s like SAT, ACT, GMAT, etc.
We all know academic exams are there for a reason. We also know how important it is to do well in your academic exams. Some people will argue about this, but I will say exam results shape the future of a student. Because if some attend 3- to 4-year college, they expect to get something out of it.
Not that I believe, but whenever someone asks me about my education, they always ask me about my GPA, position, and college activities. Even today, people ask about my college results. Good academic results build confidence and create a sense of accomplishment, which boosts students’ willpower, and students do well in their next exam or life.
So, let’s learn how to prepare for your exam so you can ace your exam.
Exam Preparation Phase
Wishing for good grades but not working for it is not a solid strategy. And now we will lay down all the steps you need to ensure about acing your exam. I will not discuss a few tips on acing your exam; instead, I will lay down a step-by-step guide for you (students). So You can understand better and apply all these tips and follow them.
Setting the Foundation
Let’s deep dive and first understand the syllabus and exam format. Understanding the syllabus will allow you to understand the topics you must prepare. Usually, syllabi are always divided into small parts. If the syllabus is divided, that is great; otherwise, divide it into smaller sections. Check all the topics and assess which topics bear more importance in the upcoming exam.
Next, inquire about the format of the exam. Is it MCQs, Short answers, Long answers, practical, or doing a project? Understanding the format will allow you to focus on the single-type exam pattern. The exam format will give a sense of the exam.
Now, create an extensive study schedule that covers all your subject topics. Create a study schedule so you cover all your syllabus on time and have time to relax, revise, and prepare for the exam in advance without doing very hard. A study schedule allows you to complete your whole subject.
After making all the study schedules, gather all the study materials and resources. Any book, mock exam papers, notebook, notes, or online study material. Please keep them in one place where you can find them when needed.
Effective Study Techniques
We always wanted to learn more, and every second person we met would ask us to study properly. But very few people will tell you how to study. So let me tell you how to study properly.
First, learn how to take notes. Good notes will allow you to present your ideas and thoughts on the paper or screen beautifully and articulately. You can follow any note-taking techniques for yourself. When your teacher teaches you something, take notes and prepare your notes.
Next, learn mind mapping; this technique helps you connect topics easily and effortlessly on one page. This allows you to connect all the subjects, helping you understand the main issue easily.
Now, learn active learning techniques. Like when you are studying, there should be no distractions from the outside world. When you are making notes, you are focusing on making notes. Active while learning. Whenever you start learning, keep the focus on learning with no distractions.
Students always complain about not having enough time to complete their homework, complete their assignments, spend time with their friends, and enjoy their time with family. Does anyone have any guess as to why they say that? As a student, you have many things on your plate, from studying to friends and social media to a playground.
So, students face problems with time management. Here are some tips to manage their time for optimum performance.
- Always have a calendar, either paper or app one. And put all your tasks on it. And follow the prioritizing pattern. Everything you do follows the same rule – which work is the priority. Which subject do you need to study first or more? Put them on the calendar and follow it.
- Next, use tools like Pomodaro to manage your time. It will help you to focus on a specific task at a particular time. You can use any other tools also. Some students like to listen to music or songs, you can use that one. There are so many apps that can help you to manage your time.
- Students never realize that you can learn any learning techniques, but if you just do not follow them and sit there even when your books are open, you are still not doing anything. That is called Procrastination. And to beat this Procrastination, simply start doing the work. Even if you do it for 2 minutes, just start and follow that consistently.
Creating a Conducive Study Environment
As many psychologists say, the environment plays a major role in a child’s development. And that is true for your progress also. If you do not have a dedicated space for study, you are unlikely to focus on your studies. So first, create a study space, or if you already have space, then re-organize it and simply dust off it. Organize your table and book racks.
Next, remove as many distractions as possible. Anything that distracts you from studying remove from the study space keep your phone in the next room, paint all the walls with white paint or any paint color, remove all the board games from the room TV, and remove the music system,
Design your study environment to support you in studying longer hours by having quality chairs, proper high tables, well-posture chair backs, adequate room ventilation, temperature control, clean, no noise, etc. With these features, you can study longer hours, which will help you study more.
During the Study Phase
After you finish the preparation phase, you are in the study phase, where you will learn how to study to ace your exam. So when your study space is ready, do the one obvious thing – study. So here is how you will start.
Understanding the Material
First, understand the subject material. When you hear it, it feels like a very simple thing to do. But it’s not. This will require you to understand your subject or topic for the exam. First, collect all the books and start with the reading and making notes. When you study something, you always make notes. So you can revise it later.
While studying, you find yourself when there are some topics you cannot understand fully. So then you need help and feedback from your teacher or someone who knows about the subject. Or just hire an online tutor. Who can help you understand the topic better and faster? Hiring a tutor will allow you to complete the topic easily.
Next, you can help you study better by using your College Library or online resources. You can find different online places where you can clear your doubts and self-study without any help, get previous students’ notes, last year’s question papers for practice, or mock papers for mock exams.
This is why you can complete your topic easily and effectively. With the proper process, you will have plenty of learning and resources.
Effective Revision Strategies
When you complete your topic one time and spend time studying, now is the time to make some strategy for revision work. Because without revision, you can not remember anything, and you won’t be able to ace your exam.
So, create proper notes that are clean. Because your messages will provide you with a feeling of “Deja vu,” meaning when you read your notes again, you will remember them properly. Next, create some Flashcards for quick revision, which will hold important facts and ideas like dates, names, important events, meaning, formulas, etc. Flashcards and mnemonics will freshen up your memory easily. These techniques will not take time, and you will be able to revise fast.
One more revision technique is important if you have friends or study buddies. You can play games and play quizzes with them. This can help you both. With proper planning, you can cover a lot of topics easily.
Staying Healthy and Energized
You are doing study and revisions, but you are missing one most important thing: your health. It is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, like your health. Acing the exam is important but staying healthy is more important. Like taking balanced nutrition, regular exercise like running or walking, and sleeping for 6 to 7 hours. So you do not feel like a Zombie when you wake up.
Your health should also be your priority. Proper sleep will help your mind to function at full capacity.
Seeking Help and Collaboration
And lastly, when preparing for your exam, you need to learn how to ask for help or make friends who can help you. Join some study groups so you can learn how the other students are doing and learn from them the best practices they are following.
If you have any questions, ask these students. Observe their mistakes, ask about the topic you had difficulty learning, or simply offer your help if some other student needs it. Or go online, join forums, and ask for help on different topics on different platforms. There are many dedicated platforms to help you. You can post your questions there and learn the solutions.
Exam Preparation Phase
After you have finished preparing your subjects, now is the time to finalize your exam preparation. This is the exam preparation phase. In this phase, you will learn about exams and how to prepare for them. You will learn about the process and
Mock Tests and Sample Papers
First, when revising your subject, start preparing for the mock test and solving the sample papers. A mock test will give you the feeling of a real test. All the procedures will be the same, the mock text pattern will be the same as the real exam, and you will have the same time to finish the exam. Then, your teacher will mark your mock exam papers and give you the answer sheet after checking.
With that, you can analyze your results and see where you have made mistakes. Mock exams will give you the real exam feeling. This will help you understand the exam better and reduce the chances of making mistakes. Mock exams will prepare you for real exams.
Time Management in the Exam
Students often make one mistake: not keeping track of the exam time limit. Allocate proper time for all the exams as per the requirements. If one question takes longer, allocate more time for it. And always practice this time management in your mock test.
Make yourself calm and learn to handle the exam pressure. When fully prepared, you will handle the exam pressure very well. And it would be best if you do this. Prepare the subject in advance, revise it, and give mock tests. Avoid panicking while you are preparing for the exam. Go for a run, start meditating, and practice the breathing technique.
When prepared, develop exam-taking strategies like reading the question paper carefully and attentively. Please do not read it in haste. Always read the questions and instructions carefully. Sometimes, we make very big mistakes that can harm our results.
Now, prepare a separate strategy for handling answering questions. You can start with the big question first, but if you want to tackle them last, you can do that later. And always take care of the small questions like multiple choice questions, essay questions, fill in the blanks, practical exams etc.
Prepare all the questions as per the instructions. Never and ever go beyond the instructions manual.
Stress Reduction Techniques
One of the key things is that students feel stressed when preparing for an exam, So they need to learn how to control the stress and their anxiety level. And they can do it by practicing breathing exercises, visualizing, having positive thinking, keeping calm, and having a focused mind.
After completing the preparation, it is your big day – Exam day. All the preparation will be used, and this is when you will experience the real exam. This is what we are preparing for. So, how will we go through it? Here it is.
Exam day preparation starts before reaching the exam hall, starting from your home, dorm room or where you live. First, start having a healthy breakfast and get dressed properly. If you are not late, revise key concepts from your mindmap or short notes. And reach the exam venue before the exam, like one hour early. Do not take chances for being late.
During the Exam
Next, when you get the question paper, read the instructions carefully; even if you know everything about it, read it. Next, please read the questions and allocate the time for each question based on their importance in the exam. Now, start with solving queries and manage your time properly. Never waste your time on difficult questions; leave it and return when finished.
After you have finished the exam, do not just check how many questions you have done; discuss it with your friends or not. But do not worry about it. Exams have been passed, and now focus on the next exam. Be relaxed now, and if it is the last exam, celebrate it. And enjoy some free days.