Kent State University’s Academic Success Center offers several tips for exam study planning. Below are their recommendations:
- Understand what causes test anxiety. This may include lack of preparation as indicated by cramming the night before an exam, poor time management, failure to organize text information, or poor study habits. It may also involve worrying about past performance on exams, how friends and other students are doing, and the negative consequences of failure.
- Confront test anxiety. Think about what you have to do. Stay relevant, relax and realize you are in control. Take deep, slow breaths. Pause when fear comes, focus on the present, and convince yourself you can do it. Do something that will prevent you from thinking about fear.
- Use a study guide. Restructure your notes by creating outlines or lists, concept maps that focus on main concepts, and flashcards. You may also wish to find or make a practice exam. Know the format of your test. Will it be multiple choice, essay, or fill in the blank? See the tips on the next page to learn how to prepare for different types of exams.
- Study smart. Find a place to study without distractions. Form study groups and use them to explain the material to someone else, ask questions, and compare notes.
- Learn long-term test preparation. Review old tests, review notes daily after class, keep up with the reading, and join a study group. One week before the test, prepare a study schedule and put the material into a useful study tool. The day before the test, have a brief review session. Make sure you get enough sleep the night before to avoid drowsiness on the day of the exam.
- Prepare on the day of the test. Eat a well-balanced breakfast the morning of the test. Arrive early for tests.
- Know how to take different types of tests. Read the directions carefully. Answer questions in a strategic order, such as answering easy questions first. Review the test before turning it in. Review the information on the next page to learn how to take multiple-choice tests, essay exams, and cumulative exams.
Adapted from Kent State University Academic Success Center’s Test Preparation Workshop PowerPoint.