8 Quick Tips to Help You Prepare for an Exam
Tests are nerve-wracking. Sometimes it’s hard to hold the pen or pencil with all the sweat in your hand. You look around and wonder if the person next to you understands the question that you’re struggling with. Then, you worry that those moments spent looking around should have been used trying to figure out the answer. What if you run out of time? What if you fail? Could you have studied more?
Don’t worry. You’re not alone! This kind of pre, during and post-exam stress happens to everyone.
There’s a lot on the line when taking a test, whether the test score contributes towards an overall course grade, means passing or failing your course or leads to the ability to earn a designation essential for your career. Studying and exam preparation don’t come naturally to all of us, so it’s vital to have a plan for your upcoming exam whether it’s just one of many you’ll be taking or an important exam that could push your career to the next level.
Many schools and exam and test centers like Prometric testing center offer exam prep advice because these organizations know how hard tests can be and understand you have a lot riding on it. We’ve assembled the best and proven exam preparation tips to help you succeed on your exam. Other resources, like a university, college or Prometric testing centers might have more advice to share as well. The most important thing you can do is to prepare well so that when you sit down to take the exam, you feel confident and know you’ve done your best before that moment. You can focus on the task at handwriting the exam.
- Pay attention in class and while completing assignments. Yes, this sounds like obvious advice, but for many students, being in class isn’t the same as listening and learning what’s being taught. Focus on the lesson, apply yourself to your assignments and be sure to absorb as much information as you can. If there’s something you don’t understand, ask questions now – not the week before the exam when your teachers/professors are swamped with student requests.
- Make notes from your textbooks and other materials as you go. Note taking forces you to read and review the material outside of class assignments, projects, and seminars. If you take notes when it’s still fresh, you’ll have ready- made study pages to work off of before it’s time to start studying for the exam.
- Don’t wait till the last minute to study. While this should be number one, it’s number three on our list because if you follow tips number one and two, you’ll already be studying for your exam. You’ll be familiar with the information and have your study materials in place. By paying attention to, and working with the information at the time it is presented, you’ll avoid the trap of cramming several
chapters/sections right before your exams. If you’re taking multiple courses, it can be challenging, so it’s best to assign time slots for every course/module. Start preparing at least a week or so before the exam and spend at least 2-4 hours per day studying your course materials.
- Take a sample test. Often teachers and professors will have sample tests or sample questions. Often agencies that administer exams through Prometric testing centers also have sample question papers on their websites you can use to create a mock exam. Additionally, find others who are taking the exam and take turns in quizzing each other. Turn to your teachers and professors for help. Ask for additional preparation tools and advice.
- Stay focused. It’s so easy to put the TV on and think you’ve “zoned out” and can absorb what you’re reading, but that doesn’t work. Even social media (Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube; conversations you want to be a part of) aren’t white noise – they are distractions. If you must have some sound around you, consider studying at a coffee shop where the noise level is a hum or use music without
- Find others you can study with. They don’t necessarily need to be taking the same course(s) that you’re taking though that is helpful for quizzing. But by merely being around people who have a similar objective (to do well in an exam) will help you keep your mind on your books and materials so that you can stay in the mental space you need to be in.
- Get clear on the exam format. All teachers will tell you what format the exam will take and how much time is allotted to each section. Knowing if the test is multiple choice, short answers, essay questions or a combination of these formats will help you with time management and amount of preparation needed. Majority of schools that test and organizations that use Prometric testing centers for their exams will outline the format when the exam is announced and will also post it on their website.
- Rest up. Cramming is often associated with a lack of sleep, and a lack of sleep is not beneficial for an exam. Eat well the day of the exam and arrive early to avoid racing around for parking or looking for the location.
Be sure to bring everything required for the exam. Schools and organizations that use Prometric testing centers outline what is and isn’t acceptable to take into an exam. The testing center may also have its specifications for you to follow so review this information well before exam day. There will also be requirements, such as ID and or photos. Read the school’s or organization’s requirements carefully and be prepared.
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