08 Dec 5-Hour Energy’s Tips to Ace Your College Exams
Starting Now: Avoiding the Midnight information cram
If your exams aren’t for a week or two, start paying some extra attention to your professors. No, I don’t mean bringing in apples for the teacher or throwing your prof a couple winks during lecture. Pay attention to what they’re saying. Despite what you might think, they actually want you to do well, so they’re likely stuffing their final lessons chock-full of content they’ve written into the exam. Before your next class, go through and scan your notes from the semester. If you find your professor is mentioning some of the same points again, that information will likely become a test question.
Use the time between classes to review the notes you’ve already taken. Giving yourself ample time to review important information will increase the likelihood that it will stick in your long term memory. Resisting the urge to cram the night before also means you’ll have time to clear up any key points you don’t fully understand. Write down any information that’s unclear and ask for an explanation in class or in a small group of your classmates. Depending on the size of your class and the policies of your professor, he or she might be willing to answer your questions one-on-one. As an added bonus, seeking help will also earn you brownie points – you’ll be showing your professor that you are dedicated to the class and want to do your best.
Throughout the study process, determine how you retain information most effectively. Use Edutopia’s online quiz to pinpoint your own learning style. Following the quiz, the same site explains your preferred learning style and gives you tips to get the most out of your classes and to study more effectively.
The Night Before: Cramming for the exam
Hopefully, for the past couple weeks, you’ve used the study tips above and you already know most of the required information. However, if you’re like many college students, procrastination might have gotten the best of you. Well, I’m going to save the “Shame on You” speech for another day and assure you that all is not lost. Though advanced preparation would’ve probably been less stressful and earned you a better grade, you can’t go back now. So, I guess it’s time to cram:
- Energy? Check!: You can’t absorb information by way of osmosis (if you don’t know what that is, you better make studying for biology a priority). Meaning, you’re not going to learn the required test info while you’re dead asleep on your notebook. So, if your energy is waning, go ahead and grab a shot of 5-Hour Energy, review these tips to stay awake, and we’ll get this study session started.
- Get organized: Compile all the materials for one class at a time and clear all other distractions from your workspace – which includes turning off your cell phone and closing out of Facebook and Twitter (unless you’re posting study questions to your online communities).
- Don’t read, skim: You’re on a time crunch, so you may not have time to read every page of your notes or each chapter of your textbook. Focus on chapter overviews and summaries and pay attention to the highlighted and underlined portions of your notes.
- Test yourself: You might think you’ve banked the information while you were reading it earlier, but can you fully explain the subject an hour later? If not, give it another look.
- Use memory tools: Employ techniques to help you remember new information that seems foreign. Repeat facts over and over, make songs or rhymes out of the material or create acronyms and acrostics to remember the facts. At this point, anything that can make the content stick is worth a try.
- Think like your prof: Give some thought to the information that is likely to appear on the exam or topics that might show up as essay questions. Remember, if you talked about it in class more than once, it’s probably going to be on the exam.
- Rest: Take a short break every 20 minutes while you’re studying or you’ll find that your studying is becoming less and less productive. You also need to get some sleep before the exam. Don’t try to pull an all-nighter – give yourself at least a few hours to rest up or all the studying in the world won’t make a difference.
During the exam: It’s all downhill from here
Stay calm, clear your mind and don’t let test anxiety get the best of you. If a question has you stumped, examine the question and the possible outcomes and try to make a logical guess. An article submitted to HubPages titled “The art of taking multiple-choice-question tests and how to get the right answers.” might help you out.
After the Exam: Learn something
There are a few possible scenarios here. Either you studied hard, knew the material and rocked the exam; or your performance has left you biting your nails until you receive your grades. In either case, you still have some learning to do. Remember that you’re taking these classes for a reason, so either way, go over your exam to see which questions you answered incorrectly. If you find you did poorly, don’t dwell on it. Fail with purpose – identify where your studying habits went awry and fix them for next time.
Sharpen your pencils 5-Hour Fans, because college exam week is fast approaching!