Guide to Preparing for Semester Exams

For some students semester exams are associated with a weeklong marathon of cramming, pulling all-nighters, and elevated levels of stress. Whether you are in high school or college, below are some useful tips to try as you head into preparing for semester exams.

Plan Ahead
This may seem obvious, but don’t make the mistake of waiting until the week before to start studying. It can be helpful to put together a study calendar, clearly identifying which subjects and chapters you will study and when. You can work backwards, starting by putting the test dates on your calendar and spreading out your study sessions over a few weeks. There are also apps available, such as My Study Plan, which will help you build a personalized plan and track your progress.

Get Organized
Even before you begin studying, organizing your notes and study materials will allow you to maximize your study time. If you typically study in the same space, declutter it and make it free from distractions. Also be sure to have all of your supplies readily available, such as flashcards and highlighters.

Use Your Resources
Some teachers or professors will provide you with ample resources to help you prepare. If you are given a study guide, take advantage of this! Or if your school offers additional study sessions, plan to attend those sessions. Even if you feel like you have a good understanding of the material, you can use that time to actively study and have experts available if you get stuck.

Test Setup
While the overall information for a test may be the same, knowing how the test is structured will help you identify the best way to study. For example, if your test is primarily multiple choice, you will want to familiarize yourself with concepts and definitions. But if your test is compiled of essays or short answers, be sure to have a deeper understanding of concepts, the application of those concepts and specific examples.

Follow these steps to set yourself up for success during midterms or finals this year. While all of the above may seem simple, when combined together they will help create a strong strategy for conquering exams.