Exams can be quite daunting, but they don’t have to be! When you think of exam period, you probably think about weeks of procrastinating and unproductiveness. This is the case for many students, but if you organise yourself well in advance of the big day, you won’t stress as much and will probably get much better grades! But how do you organise yourself before exams? Well, it’s really quite simple once you know what you’re doing. Here is an exam preparation routine you can use in the weeks before your exam to ensure that you’re ready!
4 weeks before your exam
The first step in the exam preparation routine is making sure that you have finished all of your notes a month before your exam. If you still have classes running in this time and are still learning new content, that’s okay, but make sure all of your notes from earlier the semester is complete. Ideally, you should make them throughout the entire term. You should be making killer notes, otherwise making your notes will probably take way longer than necessary. Next, try and gather (not do) some past exam papers and challenging questions- if you do this now, you will save time later.
In this time, you should also be setting goals for yourself- saying you want to “pass” is not a goal. Mae sure your goal is specific (e.g.: I’d like to get 85% for Biology) as well as why you would like to achieve that goal. Next, write down all of the topics that you need to go through before the exam- this ensues that you don’t miss out any topics.
3 weeks before your exam
Go through your notes and try to memorise and really understand them. If you can recite all your notes from back to front, good job, but make sure you UNDERSTAND them. You should be able to explain anything and everything that could be asked around your notes. The only way to achieve this is by understanding context. Go through your list of topics that you made last week and cross off all of the topics that you have been through.
2 weeks before your exam
An important part of exam preparation is getting information that your peers are not getting. How are you going to do better than other students if you’re learning from the same resources as them? There are many ways of doing this, including reading information not in your textbooks/given worksheets and watching YouTube videos on given topics. By doing this, you know more about the topic than your peers, and therefore, answering questions about the topic will be a lot easier for you than it will be for them!
In this time, you could also do practice questions in study guide books which are probably available for most of your subjects.
The week before your exam
Do past exam papers! This is where you will most likely learn the most. I experienced major improvements in my exam results after I started doing practice papers- my chemistry mark jumped up about 10% after I started really focussing on doing past exam papers. In saying that, make sure you know how to do past papers properly, otherwise you might just be wasting your time!
By doing past exam papers, you will learn how to give the answer the marker is looking for, and familiarise yourself with the layout of the paper. You’ll also be able to start anticipating the type of questions your exam might ask, and therefore not get a nasty surprise!
The day of your exam
Do not do any study an hour before your exam. If you attempt to study in this hour, you will only stress yourself out and possibly even forget what you have learnt in the past few weeks. DO NOT CRAM IN THIS TIME. It will not help and will probably cause you to perform worse than you would have. In this time, your mindset is MUCH more important than cramming. When waiting for the exam to start, don’t look at your notes or discuss the content with your friends- this will only cause you to stress excessively.
Make sure that you’re up to date with the latest exam tips to use while writing the exam- they can help save your time and help you stress less.
Lastly, if you’re feeling super anxious before your exam, know that many students feel that way, take a deep breath and picture yourself reaching your goal that you set for yourself earlier.
I hope this exam preparation routine will help in your time of need!