Exam Prep Starts Yesterday!

Yes, you’re still prepping and learning new material, but it’s not too early to start studying for exams as well. Wait any longer, and it could be too late.

Here are some steps you might take:

  1. Find out whether your exams will occur during or before exam week, perhaps in some other form, such as a paper or take-home of some sort.
  2. Find out, if you don’t already know, whether your exams will be cumulative or just final-unit tests (or something else entirely).
  3. Find out, if your profs haven’t already told you, not only what your exams will cover but also how. How will your profs want you to be able to show what you know? And just knowing ‘multiple choice’ or ‘essay’ or ‘short answer’ or ‘matching’ doesn’t cut it. Like what?
  4. Based on the answers to that last question, now study in ways that match those expectations. If you will need to do problems, do many practice problems. If you will need to relate one thing to another, practice relating. If you will need simply to recall (such as vocab), practice recalling, etc. In other words, don’t just “go through your notes.”
  5. Do such things a little at a time AND almost every day from here on. You will learn better through many easy-going reviews than through only a couple strenuous reviews.
  6. Find out early what you don’t understand so you still have time to get help from profs, TA’s, tutors, help sessions, math lab, fellow students, etc.
  7. Go ahead and study with friends, but remember you’ll eventually have to know things all by yourself. If you can’t do a problem on your own, e.g., you don’t know it.
  8. Keep circling back to draw everything together and to show yourself you still know what you knew five days ago in the ways in which you will have to show what you know.

You only have two to three weeks to go. Putting in the extra time starting now and every day from here on will help you learn better, discover early what you still need to learn, and reduce the stress of otherwise useless cramming during the day or two before an exam.

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