studying for an exam is different from studying to learn you need to be strategic because it’s all about getting the best grade possible so whether you’re cramming for an exam tomorrow or studying for one in a few months time here is the strategy you should follow for your best chance of success the first step to hacking your exam preps being clear about what’s on the exam this might be obvious but doing this really well will help you be laser focused in the next five steps if you can confirm three things what topics and areas you might be tested on what types of questions there will be and how much each section of the exam is worth you won’t always know this information budget as many details as possible from your teacher or lecturer check the course outline or objectives but,
make sure you attend the final class or lecture before an exam because that’soften where they’ll share more details or advice there are three general types of exams and you prepare differently for each of them if you don’t get this right you’ll crash and burn for sure the three types are memorization understanding concepts and problem solving if you’re short on time you might be tempted to prepare for a problem-solving exam by memorizing things that would be a mistake subjects that typically need a lot of memorization includes history languages and parts of some science classes like biology and Anatomy memorization is all about building connections using only repetition to try and remember things doesn’t create connections and that’s why it doesn’t work very well.
A lot of others have exams based mainly on understanding concepts it’s important to have a big-picture perspective and understand how all the smaller pieces of the puzzle fit-together take the information from your lectures textbook and extra reading material and organize it according to the majors-themes and concepts it’s easiest to do visually so use mind maps flow chart sand diagrams to create your overall perspective and show the links between details concepts and the overall subject typical exam questions.
Ask you to evaluate compare and apply the concepts so practice doing that and try to use-concrete examples to explain answers the third type of exam is problem-solving which is common for engineering commerce and science courses the key to these exams is doing a lot of problems but try doing a problem first before reading the theory behind it remember you’ll get most exam marks for doing problems not knowing the theory so that sets your study priorities instead of reading chapter in detail and then trying problems flip it around give the chapters brief skim but start on the problem sand only go back to read the theory when you hit a roadblock that way you’ll get the problem done and know the theory you also need to know the type of question sin your exam because you’ll prepare differently for each of them.
The most common question types are multiple-choice essays problems and short answers which of those will be included on your exam there are three types of multiple-choice questions they can test your straight recall of facts your comprehension of how facts relate to concepts or how you apply your knowledge and understanding don’t waste time and effort by preparing for the wrong type of multiple-choice question next is essay questions look at the major topics and themes in your course which ones were repeated or given emphasis make your own potential exam questions to practice answering start by creating detailed outlines for each answer.
Final type of question is short answer question sand you might need to give anything forma sentence to a paragraph answer prepared by memorizing important term sand definitions and by using mind maps to relate each term back to the overall concepts of the subject and connect any-supporting evidence
The first three steps were really preparation to this step because it’s the most powerful if you haven’t heard of the 8020 rule or Pareto’s principle it’s all about prioritization or bang for your buck the 8020 rule says that generally speaking 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts if you think about your last assignment you probably did 80% of that assignment in 20% of the total time you spent working on it and if you’re like the average student it was probably the 20% of time right before your deadline so how will this apply to studying for your exam 80% of your exam marks will come from 20% of your study efforts don’t get hung up on the numbers they won’t always hold exactly true.
it’s more about the concept identify what’s-going to give you the biggest bang for buck well some topics have more emphasis in the exam than others which section of the exam is worth the most will preparing for one type of question also help you prepare for another type of question as well.
if there are hot spots that cover all three that’s your starting point if you’re cramming the night before this might be all you can achieve but if you have more time you’ll focus on more topics and areas this is just a simple example but you get the idea be strategic and focus on what’s going to give you the highs grade possible