Academic Resource Guide - Planning for Exams

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?
  • 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. Make sure to review the test  before turning it in.

Adapted from Kent State University Academic Success Center’s Test Preparation Workshop PowerPoint.