Taking exams is a fact of student life. It can be stressful, but if you follow these simple strategies, you will be well prepared to do your best.

Before the exam

  • Find a good place to study. Dedicate a study place to ensure that you will be able to do some good studying. Be sure that whatever place you choose, you will be free from time-consuming distractions like the telephone, visitors, or children's needs.
  • Find a good time for studying. Determine when you study most effectively. If you study better in the evening then set a time to do so. Choose a study time so that you will be most productive!
  • Find out as much as you can about the exam. Make sure you talk to your instructor so that you know what to expect on your exam.
  • Anticipate exam questions - think of possible exam questions that might be asked by your instructor and practice answering these questions.
  • Actively study the learning materials you will be tested on. Summarize, write, recite, and practice problems.
  • Make sure you get a good night sleep the night before your exam. Being tired will make you less alert and increase your chances of making mistakes while writing your exam.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal. It is important to eat healthy and to eat a well-balanced meal before your exam. This will help you to stay alert and focused while your write your exam.
  • Arrive on time, but not too early - listening to others cram may cause you to panic or get confused.
  • Think positively! Believe in yourself and know that if you are well prepared you will do well on your exam.

During the exam

  • Get materials organized
  • Listen for last minute instructions
  • Make quick notes about facts you think you might forget
  • Read all instructions and problems carefully
  • Organize your time - don't spend too much time on one problem
  • When finished, go back and read the directions to be sure that you followed them
  • Check and double check your answers
  • Use all the time allowed

After the exam

  • Use the exam as a learning experience
  • Go back to your notes and try to answer the exam problems
  • Look for a pattern in the type of problems you do very well (or very poorly) and try to assess why this is true
  • Discuss your performance with your instructor
  • If you are allowed to keep the exam, keep it to study for finals or for future reference

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