Testing, Testing!: A Guide to Exam Prep

Testing, Testing!: A Guide to Exam Prep

Kelsie V., Staff Writer

It’s close to the end-of-school season and I’m sure something is taking up much of the space in your brain: tests. It can be quite tedious and unappealing to study when your heart desires to leave your desk, but some ways can make it go by quickly and can help you gain positive results.

First and foremost, studying for hours on end can lessen your speed and dampen your motivation. Try splitting up your chapters and topics you need to review in measurable and reasonable amounts. If you have 15 chapters to cover in math, don’t overload yourself with 10 in one day. Start early and review slowly so you can retain as much information as possible. Give yourself timely breaks away from your work area and do something relaxing. If you are feeling a lack of inspiration or motivation, take a moment to journal your thoughts, write down the jobs you need to accomplish or stretch. This should give you a little mental clean-out from constant work.

Additionally, try making your desk or study area a pleasant place to be. This may not affect your study efficiency directly, but it will all add up. At night, before you go to sleep, tidy up your books, laptop, and various writing utensils spread out across the table and put them in their proper place. This way, when you wake up in the morning to get a head start in your work, you can open your eyes to a well-organized and neat space. Also, don’t be afraid to make your desk reflect your personality, hobbies, and interests! Display your achievements, favorite books, lovely artwork, or a little succulent. The happier you are in your space, the more determined you will be to sit there and get the job done. 

            Another tip is to gather your courage and ask for help when you need it. Even if you may feel like you’re being a bother or nuisance, you’re not. Your teachers and parents are there to help you succeed and do well in school, so when you have a doubt, reach out! Do this before your exam, so you can be well-prepared, even in topics and concepts that are not your strong point. Try to listen to them as they are showing you how to do something, and if you don’t understand still, speak up and they can teach you a different way to think about it or work it out.

Furthermore, something that happens to many students as they are revising for exams is they primarily look at topics and chapters they already know well. It may be tempting, and believe me, I’ve fallen into that trap many times. But the only way to get better at the types of problems you’re weak at is to keep trying and thinking of different ways to help you grasp the concept more smoothly. Also, if you only have a limited amount of study time, you may want to prioritize that time for these more difficult subjects. 

Additionally, here are some ways to make the night before your exam and the morning of your exam go well. Usually, on the night before your exam, you should leave it only for reviewing topics you struggle with, not for a tiring 3-hour study session. Go to bed early, and calm yourself before bed, so your mind is not racing with thoughts. Listen to an audiobook or background music as you drift off to sleep. On the morning of your exam, eat a healthy, filling breakfast, and if you want to, warm-up, both physically and mentally. Stretch a little, loosen your joints and muscles and do some practice problems from past worksheets or past tests. This should get your brain awake and your body alert for the upcoming test. 

Finally, one last thought: you’re not perfect. We all have flaws and make mistakes. That’s how we learn. Think of it this way: if you get a perfect score on every assignment or test in school and never or very rarely make even one mistake, why should you be in school? The best students do not always get good scores, yet they learn, move on, and strive to do better. So cut yourself some slack, and try to do better next time.

Hopefully, these tips can help this exam season go well for you and your studies. Good luck!