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How to Take Your Exams Successfully

Maia Haas

Love them or hate them, it’s hard to get away from exams. All that preparation before the D day, a race against the clock as you sit at the desk in front of your blank copy. Even the preparation may be sometimes as stressful as the exam itself. If you’re a student, exams are the most important part of your studies as they are based on the evaluation of your knowledge.

As a student, I know perfectly how you feel while preparing an exam. Unfortunately, if you are planning to continue your studies, be ready to face that kind of situations again and again. Are you feeling anxious about taking exams? If you want to pass them, keeping some advice in mind will ensure you that you successfully get through exams and learn from your classes.

Ask questions. The main goal of your teacher is probably to help you pass your exams and understand what you didn’t grasp during the classes. Moreover, they may help you to move to the next stage of your life that is to say getting a job and becoming independent. Thus, don’t hesitate to ask questions or ask for advice. It may happen that your teacher tends to be really busy and seems to be helpless but remember that they have to take care of many other students and that your are not the only one asking questions. Take advantage of the help that they may offer you and you won’t regret it.

Understand how the scoring system works. Before taking an exam, make sure that you understand how the marks are allocated. This way, it will be easier for you to know where you can receive additional points and work on the topics concerned. Similarly, it’s really important for you to know how the marks are allocated during the whole academic year. For example, if your final exam counts for more than 50% of your academic year, you may have to work hard to pass it. On the contrary, if that final exam counts for less than 50% and that you failed to have good marks during the year, you can’t expect to save yourself at the last minute. Understanding where your marks come from will allow you to allocate your efforts accordingly.

Plan your revision. It may seem obvious but planning your revision may appear more challenging than expected. Take your time, don’t mix all your classes in just one day, you won’t learn anything. Everybody may have different methods to review their classes: some would rather concentrate their revision. Some prefer to revise one subject entirely before proceeding with another topic, others prefer to alternate revision between different subjects. Take breaks while revising, it will help you to recover your storage capabilities. Don’t review your classes at the last minute, it won’t help you to understand anything and you will be even more tired and grumpy for the D day.

Use memory aids. While reviewing your classes, you can help yourself by doing memory aids. One of the most basic example is memorizing a list of things you need to remember or even entire plans for essays you may have to write. All you have to do is take the initial letter of each thing you want to remember and make a sentence that helps you remember the letters.

Review your weak points. It’s important to know your strengths. However, always prioritize your weaknesses. Aim to revise everything but devote more time to things you don’t understand or know less. The reason is that we like doing easy things, so we have a tendency, when we revise, to concentrate on the things we already know. Even if you know 2 or 3 subjects by heart, you may face a difficult question that you didn’t prepare. If you can’t answer, you will lose points and fail your exam just for one question.

Of course, you want to pass your exams. But don’t forget that you’re also trying to learn and understand things and get a good education. This is not a chore, it’s your chance to improve your knowledge and get the job you’re dreaming of. Maximize you chances to get through your exams, train yourself, get up early and drink a lot of coffee! Last but not least, don’t be pessimistic, always think positive. It only remains for me to wish you good luck!

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