For many students, tests are the most stressful part of their college experience. Exams often make up the majority of their course grade, leading to increased pressure, anxiety and many hours spent studying late into the night.
You may feel like you don’t know where to start when it comes to studying, and that’s okay! There are many things you can do to help prepare for your tests.
Here are seven tips to help you feel confident come exam day.
Participate in class. One of the best ways to prepare for a test is to be present in your classes. Take notes, participate in discussions and ask questions. Engaging with the course content is a great way to understand the material before you start studying for your test.
Review your notes. Take time to reread the notes you already have. Highlight what you need to review, underline things to ask your professors and mark sections that are listed on your study guide. From there, you can use your highlighted notes to study, giving you a good understanding of both the course content and what will be on the test.
Talk with your professors. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during class. Talk with your instructors one-on-one, either after class or by meeting over coffee. Bring a list of questions and go over the material that you didn’t understand from the lecture or the study guide. Your professors are there to support you, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Find what works for you. Give yourself plenty of time to figure out which study methods work best for you. Make flash cards, highlight your notes, reread sections of the textbook or read the study guide aloud as you work through it. Experiment with different techniques and see what helps you feel the most prepared.
Work together. Don’t feel like you have to prepare for your exams alone. Start a study group with classmates, have your roommates quiz you or invite your friends over for a study session. You’ll get to spend time socializing, while also feeling more confident and prepared for your exam.
Pace yourself. It’s important that you manage your time and energy well. If you find yourself feeling burned out while studying, stop and take a break. Walk around the room, go outside, or stop and get a snack. Taking time to recharge will help you focus and improve your studying habits in the long run.
Take care of yourself. While it may be tempting to push yourself before a big exam, you need to prioritize your mental and physical health. Be sure to get enough sleep, eat regular meals and spend time doing things you enjoy. Not taking care of your physical body will only hinder you from doing well on your tests and prevent you from remembering what you’ve learned.
However you decide to study, remember to stay calm. Prepare as best you can and be responsible with your time. Then, allow yourself to rest, feeling confident that you’ve prepared and know the material. You’ve got this!