University Exam Prep
Before you can escape the stress of school and enjoy the winter break, you have to pass finals! You’re not alone. University students all over the country are cracking under the pressure of their exams. While this is an undeniably difficult and often exhausting time of year, it’s important to stay focused and motivated. You wouldn’t want all the hard work you’ve done over the course of the semester to go to waste over one bad test.
When your exams are held depends on the university’s examination period. However, typically half-year courses taken in first semester have their exams in early- to mid- December. That being said, many full-year courses also have mid-term tests around this time of year, and while these may not be worth as much as final exams, it is nevertheless important to make sure you’re prepared for them.
Here are some tips on how to get ready for a university exam.
Summarize. Go through all your lectures and create a set of condensed exam notes. Write down all the important stuff, and paraphrase as much as possible in order to make the material more manageable. If you do this properly, eventually all you’ll need to do is glance at the key words and you’ll be able to explain the related material in detail.
Draw connections. A subject can seem pointless if you don’t make the effort to connect it to your own life—instead of blindly memorizing, see if you can explain things through examples or anecdotes. Take a political theory and see if it’s manifested anywhere in world news, or do some more research on an experiment you found particularly interesting in biology. Get away from the word-for-word method of studying and think of ways to make what you’re studying relatable (and thus, memorable).
Safety in numbers. Studying in groups is extremely valuable because you get to interact with the material instead of just reading alone in your room. Get together with a study group a few times before the exam. You should continue to study independently as well, but discussing concepts, quizzing, or even explaining things to someone else within a group will improve your knowledge and your memory.
Get help. Don’t be intimidated by your professor or TA: they are really just there to help. If you have any questions about the course material, it is crucial that you clarify them before the end of the semester rolls around. Chances are, if you mention you’re stressing out about the exam, the prof or TA would be happy to give you some help on how to prepare.
Take care of yourself. Get a good night’s sleep the day before the exam and make sure you’re keeping yourself healthy. Study hard, but make sure you keep well—otherwise, it could actually interfere with your focus. You wouldn’t want to compromise all of your hard work with one all-nighter or sick day, right when it matters the most.