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How to Prepare for an Exam: 9 Tips For Success

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how to prepare for an exam

No matter the subject that you are studying, exams are going to be important. They show just how well you have studied, learnt and taken in all the things that have been covered in your course.

This means that exams are often seen as a time of pressure, of feeling that you need to really try the best that you can. Whilst having this drive is an ideal way to push you forward, it can be an overwhelming and stressful time.

That said, you can take steps to make your exams that little bit easier to manage. To help you along the way, we have put together our guide on how to prepare for an exam.

Make Plenty of Time to Prepare

Whilst some students can do really well with a spot of late night, last minute cramming, this is not the best way to revise for an exam. It is a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to study. It is easier said than done of course, but one great way to try and manage your time the best that you can is to set up a timetable.

Write down how many exams that you have as well as when you are going to be sitting them. This will help you to be able to organise your studies accordingly and allow you to balance your time in as effective a way as possible.

Setting Up A Study Space

Where you study can also have an impact on how well you study. You need to make sure that you have a spot where you have enough space to spread out your laptop, textbooks and notes. You also want to be as comfortable as possible and make sure that there is enough natural (and not natural light as the evening comes).

You also want to get rid of as many distractions as you can as this will allow you to focus the best that you can. Some people like to sit in silence, whereas others prefer to have background noise to help them to focus.

Use Visual Aids

Most of us need some kind of visual representation to help us with learning. So, having visual aids is going to be a key part of the process. You will find that some form of visual aids will work better for you than others, so keep trying until you find one that fits with your own style.

Use Old Exams to Pratice

One of the best ways to prepare for an exam, is to take a look at old exams. These might not be exactly the same as new ones, but they give you an idea of how the exam is going to look and how the questions are going to be written too. They also help you when it comes to timing and making sure that you spend the right amount of time on each section that you have to finish.

Talk to Your Parents/Siblings

You may worry that other people in your family are going to be irritating whilst you are trying to study, but the truth is that they can be really useful. Sometimes being able to speak out loud about what you are studying, explaining to them how it works, can be all that you need to help you to understand it too.

Study with Friends to Stay Accountable

If you don’t think that you are going to be too distracted studying with your friends, then this could be a good idea. They are not only going to understand what it is that you are trying to learn, but they could also have ideas that they use that you may not have thought of. This can help you to maximise your own study efforts.

Make Sure You Take Breaks!

When you are focused on your studies, it is all too likely that you will forget to give yourself a break. Breaks are important to rest your brain and recharge. Without them you are going to get fatigued and worn out and you simply won’t be giving your studies the attention that they need.

Breaks need to be regular, however, you can decide on how regular that they need to be, as they can fit in with your own study schedule.

Snack on the Right Brain Food

You are going to get hungry and thirsty when you are studying and it might be easier to just grab something quick, tasty and probably quite sugary when you need to eat. It is nice to treat yourself of course, but you need to make sure that you get the right food too. Choose plenty of things that are nutritious. We are talking about fish, nuts, seeds and fruits here. They will help you to recharge your brain and to give you enough power to get through the rest of your studies.

Know What You Need for Your Exam

As well as your studies, you also need to think about what is going to happen on the big day too. Knowing what you need for your exam is going to put your mind at rest and allow you to relax somewhat. You also need to think about other aspects such as where it is, if it is somewhere that you have travelled to before. You need to ensure that you not only know the route to take, but also how long it is likely to take you to get there and whether there could be any issues along the way.

Being prepared for your exams and studying for them properly is always going to put you in the best position for the big day. The main thing to do is to try your best to relax and not to get stressed out about your exams, as this can leave you feeling flustered and impact on how well you will perform when the exams come around.

James Goldsmith-profile-picture

James graduated from The University of Sussex in 1996 and completed his P.G.C.E teaching qualification in 1997. Since then, James has worked as both a teacher, examiner and in management across a broad spectrum of the State and Independent Education sectors. He is committed to constantly upgrading his teaching skills and raising standards.