Many students are preparing for upcoming final exams. Or they SHOULD be!
Now is a good time to go over your study strategy.
What is a study strategy? It's your plan regarding how you are going to prepare yourself for your tests and exams.
Why bother to have a specific plan? Well, you want to PASS the course, don't you? Sure! You want to do more than that . . . you want to EXCEL (otherwise you wouldn't even be reading this, eh?). Having a plan will make your exam preparations more efficient (that is, less time-consuming) and more likely to produce a successful outcome.
Each student's best strategy will be somewhat unique them--tailored to individual strengths and learning styles. (Click here for more on learning styles.)
A good strategy will have been fine-tuned by previous experimentation with different study plans over the course of the semester.
Here are a few things to think about when developing your study strategy:
- What study plan has worked in the past? What hasn't worked out so well?
- What do you know about the format of the upcoming exam? What kinds of items will be on the exam?
- What is the content of the exam? What concepts will be tested?
- What has your instructor told you about the exam? Professors often drop a lot of hints. Even if they don't, you can always just ASK them. Most professors will have SOME KIND of advice for their students. A good question to ask is, "how do you go about making up the exam?" Such a question will often reveal what the professor finds to be most important.
- Practice the exam. Use previous tests from the course (if available) to practice the exam. One way to do this is to cut up copies of your tests and draw individual items randomly from an envelope. Sometimes professors will provide a practice exam or copies of some old exams. If not offered, it wouldn't hurt to ask.
- Study with a group. Pooling your thoughts, and helping each other review and practice, work surprisingly well to solidify what you already know and to fill in any gaps.
- Manage your time well. Don't cram at the last minute . . . do a little preparation each day for a week or more before the exam.
Next week, I'll share some strategies for what do during the exam.