Exam Preparation: What to do & When to do it.
5 weeks before the exam(s)- Plan ahead! 5-6 weeks (or even earlier) before exam period is a perfect time to plan out the exams you have. Look through your course/subject notes to work out what topics will be examined. Then plan your weeks to allow you to schedule in enough time to revise for every subject, and every topic within each subject. Although this preparation may seem like a waste of time, trust me it’s not. You don’t want to get to a week before exams and then realised you only studied for your hard statistics exam and completely forgot about the others.
4-3 weeks before the exam- These weeks are the time to work on the plan you made. Do your readings and catch up on missed lectures/classes. Ensure you write notes from all your readings and lectures as revising your own notes is more efficient and less daunting than revising your entire text book. Highlighters are your bestfriend, highlight the main points in the lectures and readings and then rewrite these in your own notes. My Favourite highlights are https://www.stabilo.com/uk/product/1565/highlighting/stabilo-luminator. I won’t use any others!
2 weeks before the exam- Start to quiz yourself. Go over your notes and quiz yourself on the content. My favourite way to do this is to create cue cards. You can either print out cue cards, or purchase system cards (https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/esselte-system-cards-102-x-152mm-assorted-colours-500-pack-es451205) to write one. It is an easy way to remember key concepts and topics. It’s also a perfect time to organise a study group and quiz each other- or get your parents/partner to quiz you.
1 week before the exam- Keep quizzing yourself- however a strategy I use is to start removing the cue cards that you know. Don’t waste time going over all of them, just focus on the topics you are particularly struggling with. If you have written exams, now is the time to practice them also. Allow yourself the set time you will be allocated in the exam so you get used to the conditions. I will often type my practice essays/extended responses first (to help detect errors), but then hand write them out at least 3-4 times. It is so important to you get used to hand writing as that is what you will be doing in the exam.
The day before the exam- Only focus on the topics for the exam you have the next day and just go over a couple of the hard concepts you were struggling with. It is important that you do not overwhelm yourself by cramming an entire course. Get to bed as early as you can and have a healthy dinner. Also organise all the stationery you will use in the exam so that you will not be rushing around the next morning.
On the day- Get up early to give yourself PLENTY of time to get ready. Have breakfast, don’t have 8 cups of caffeine, take water, and pack little treats (if you are allowed). Only go over one or two concepts (if you must), aside from that trust that you have done what you’ve done, cramming will not help. Then take a deep breath and start the exam!