As the exam nears, you will need to create a plan to help you study effectively and minimize stress. The earlier you start, the more time you will have to prepare for the exam. You don't have to wait until exam time approaches; try to set the stage from the beginning of the course by reviewing the material after each class. By starting early and studying on a regular basis, you will have a better opportunity to absorb the information and life will be a lot easier when it's time to put it all together for the exam.
The first step is to figure out how much time and effort you must dedicate to studying for the exam by asking the following questions: • How much material do you need to cover? • How difficult is the material? • How much time is available? • Do you have any other priorities during the study period? • What is the format of the exam? • How important is the exam? • What is your performance target for the exam?
To prepare the study plan, map out all of the material that has to be covered and make a schedule showing what, when and how much you will study each day. If you have kept up with the course work, studying will involve revision of the material that you have already covered. If you are behind in the course, you will have to finish the readings and other uncompleted work before starting the revision (if there isn't enough time to go over everything, you must decide what is most important for the exam).
Here are some tips to follow in creating your study plan:
• budget your time realistically; • allocate the study time into several manageable study sessions; • divide the course material into small segments and assign them to the study sessions; • set clear and specific goals for the study sessions; • prioritize to ensure that material weighted more heavily in the exam gets sufficient study time; • take into account your familiarity with the material and the difficulty level; • don't make the study sessions too long; • study sessions should have enough variety in terms of topics and activities to prevent boredom and loss of effectiveness; • avoid cramming before the exam; and • don't forget to include regular breaks.
Studying for the Exam
You are now armed with a plan and ready to start studying for the exam. Try to study in a location where you can concentrate and won't be interrupted. You can work with others or join a study group if you find it helpful, but be careful to keep it from turning into an inefficient use of your time. Some proven study tools and techniques are listed below - people respond to different learning styles, so use what works for you.