For those who do not know me, I am currently a full-time college student and have been for the last 4 years. I am studying Audiology and Speech Language Pathology. I am in my last semester of college and throughout the years I have gotten so many questions on how I achieve my grades. No, I don’t study all the time. I do put a lot of time into my studying, but that does not necessarily mean I sit in my room all day studying. I have a social life, work part time, continue my healthy lifestyle through fitness, in a relationship, and also very involved with many events on campus. I want to share how I manage to get good grades, which in large comes from my exams. So I am finally sitting down to share my tips on studying for big exams.
Plan & Set Goals: So depending on the course I have an upcoming exam in, I make sure to start studying accordingly, dependent on the actual course. If I am studying for a course in my major, I try to start studying a week before. If we are talking about a general education course, that might not have material that is as difficult, I will start studying 2 -3 days before. Remember this is totally dependent on you! If you are a quick learner you might be able to get away studying late.
This is all about setting goals for yourself and making a goal for each day. Make sure the goals for each day are reasonable, don’t try to take on too much you can’t handle. This will just have you skipping through the information just to get through it, instead of actually learning it.
I first look over how much material is on the exam I am studying for. I look at how many notes and resources I need to get through and plan from there. If I have 10 chapters to get through for the exam, I will probably learn 2 chapters a day and make sure I know them in and out. Then I might leave the last 2 days just for review and practice questions.
Study with the test taker in mind: Depending on the type of course you are taking, you might have an idea of how the professor is going to test you. Sometimes, they might even tell you if you ask! Are the questions going to be multiple choice? Are there going to be open-ended questions? Are the questions going to be conceptual or more up front? I keep the test taker in mind while studying the material. I constantly question “is this a good test question?” So while studying the material, question the material on weather it could be a good test question. Most professors will test you on information that they think is essential and important, so again, keep this in mind while studying the material. If you have taken the same professor in the past, use this to your advantage. This works to my benefit, because I have seen how they tested before, and can sometimes predict their test style.
Cover all resources: I cannot stress this enough. If your professor lectured 10 chapters and you study 7 hoping she doesn’t test you on the other 3, you will less likely do well. Everything the professor lectured is fair game, therefore, you should know all the material. For this reason I study all my notes. If the professor mentions it during lecture that they will take some test questions out of the book, I will take sure to read the chapter. It is important to cover your resources, even if you’re just reading through a chapter. On test day, if you are asked a question about what you read, you will more likely know it and remember it, if you actually took the time to read it.
Learn for the long run & ask questions: I am a victim of memorizing material the day before test day, especially in courses that do not apply to my major. I highly recommend not just going over material but LEARNING it if it involves your field, because it will probably show up again. If it is going to help you be better at your job, why would you not want to learn it? If you actually learn it, you won’t forget it so easy. Lastly make sure you leave time at the end of your studying days for questions. If you need to ask a classmate or even the professor, make sure you get all your questions in!