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

Need more resources?

Visit the NorQuest College Library website  for thousands of resources that help.