Let’s not waste your time. You have important exams coming up, and you need to get your books together. It’s alright. I’m here to help you with how you should prioritize your exam materials.
What does it mean?
You have a lot of materials in your hand (or on your desk) right now and you need to study all. However, you are not sure if you have enough time to take care of them all So you need to choose one material to at least help you to pass the test. The urge shows when you have the least among of time. You can only read one thing. Which one should you choose?
Set the goal
it matters …
of course it MATTERS!
You have to know how long you are going to jump to know how much energy you should spend.
- What is your grade goal?
- Why you need this score? (Is it for your future university? is it because you don’t wanna fail? it’s part of the motivation. prevent the question “so what?” by setting the right goal.)
- what is the least score you can get? (to not fail. remember always aim higher than needed.)
Knowing what you need your score for can help you with the way you have to study and how much time you need to spend on your materials. it also guides you on how many times you have to review one material.
What is the format of your exam?
- Multiple-choice exams?
- Problem or case-based exams?
- Oral exams?
- Open-book and take-home exams?
- Essay exams?
When I was younger, and I just had started studying at school I thought it is no difference between these types. I thought no matter what type of exam I have, I should study in the same way. I was somehow magically right through elementary and middle school. But high school hit me hard after a lot of fails. Even though it took me a lot of time to realize how I should study after finishing middle school but I learned some great lessons through all these mistakes.
When you have multiple choice exams you just need to focus on important keywords.
when you have essay exams you need to focus on something more than just keywords.
through the whole time of studying you need to keep reminding yourself that what is the type of exam and after studying each paragraph or even word you need to try and create questions in your mind so you can guess what the question maker might bring for you.
now let’s start with the materials!
I tried to order them from the most important one to the least. however, if your teacher/professor or advisor suggests you keep any of the materials in another order, you should listen to them. (especially teachers or professors. they are the one who are going to create the questions after all.)
I don’t want to say that 80 percent of the exam questions come from teachers note but I want to say that more than 80 percent (if not 100 percent) of the questions come from teachers’ notes. they are so so important that they should be your number one priority!
don’t forget who is going to create the questions. they think the same way when they are teaching. what is important to your teacher when they are teaching is also important to them when they are making problems.
God knows how many times I survived hard problems because I studied old exams by the same teacher.
there is a high possibility that your teacher might use the same problem. what is important would always stay important.
flashcards are amazing for reviewing your knowledge. one time readying is not enough. you need to keep revise and challenge yourself with flashcards to remember and review important parts. it also helps you to find your weaknesses.
4.finding weaknesses and working on them.
don’t escape from your weaknesses. try to focus and find where you are hitting a rock. find it and solve the problem. sometimes the problem can be solved with only 5 minutes of reviewing. so don’t be scared and don’t ignore them. go through the previous materials and review them and study them with more focus.
I saw this on Holly Gabriel’s YouTube channel and I fell in love with it.
all you need to do is to write all you remember from your studies on a paper. you can create a mind map or just randomly write everything. it’s also a good summary for reviewing hours before the exam. this method also works perfectly when you have an essay exam.
another thing you can do is to create questions while you are studying them and then answer the question. I love this method because when you know how to make problems, you’ll learn how to solve them. you can also find your weaknesses and work on them more.
yes. we’re back again. after you worked on those you have to get back to your flashcards and review the knowledge again. more and more you review, you will get more control over the knowledge.
7.more research/ books and articles.
there are most of the time books or articles that your professor might introduce. in my experience, they don’t introduce them just for fun. there are possibilities that they might use that article or book to find a problem. don’t let it slip away. one mistake I made was that I ignored this fact… I didn’t study a book my professor suggested… turned out she only used that one book for the questions…
8.rereading and reviewing
well… do I need to… say anything?
9.and more practice
Practice makes perfect.
it’s not only something you hear from everyone. it’s the biggest fact and most obvious secret of success. practicing especially when it comes to subjects like math, physics, and chemistry (or anything similar).
now that we prioritize materials, I’m going to give you some quick tips about studying:
Don’t leave everything for the last moment!
I know it can be hard not to. for some reason, these kinds of things hit us hard at the last moment. it’s like only a few days before the exam, we realize that it’s real and we have an exam coming up. plan weeks before the exam and stick to your plan so you won’t need to worry about it or wait for the moment that things feel real for you.
Practice makes perfect!
I said it before but I say it again. nothing is more important than practicing. your brain needs more and more experience over a matter to get fully familiar with it. with one experience it won’t get comfortable and with that, it would get harder for you to use your creativity when it comes to questions that are tricky and need creativity.
focus on one section at a time.
don’t push all the information in your brain at once. focus on them one by one and solve problems and take your time to take control over the section before jumping to the next one. most of the time these sections are related to each other and if you don’t get fully familiar with section one, you can’t learn section two any better.
if you need to look back, do it before everything else.
I had a hard time at high school (for some reason that I would talk about them later) but the problem was that I didn’t remember anything from the 10th and 11th grade. when I got into 12th grade I tried and studied hard but… no result. my grades didn’t get any better and I still had a major gap in my grades. that’s why for my university entry I started with studying from 10th grade all over again. it took me a lot of time … yes. I couldn’t finish what I was supposed to finish.. yes. but after I studied 12th grade again finally I realized and learned things that I was hardly trying to learn before. things that I had a big problem with became so stupidly easy and it was only because I finally learned what I was lacking.
Stay away from stress.
stress takes all you know away from your brain.
I’m the queen of stress and anxiety so let me tell you based on personal experience. when you become stressed your brain tries to fade the memory that is stressful for you. by that, you forget everything. if you are stressed while studying, your brain tries to fade the memory which is all you have been studying for the past 10 hours.
try to stay calm. don’t overthink.
before losing hope try to find a solution.
alright, let’s assume for any kind of reason you didn’t study until the very last moment. you can’t find a travel machine and fly back in time. nope… sorry to say that.
but you have to be fast and control the moment. you have to find a solution immediately. that solution is studying.
just don’t stop and don’t give up. you might not be able to finish materials or review or practice. but remember! if you only study 2 more pages you can save yourself 5% of your score from crossing off your paper. just one more piece, one more section, one more time. that’s what creates success.
Hope you a high score exam and I wish you full success.
hope you rock that exam, my dear warrior!