How to Ace an Exam

It could be the most terrifying sight of your student life: looking at the course syllabus and seeing an exam worth 50 per cent of your final grade. If you are naturally a good test-taker, this may be a good thing. However, the vast majority of students panic ever so slightly when their grade is dependent on a three-hour window. This type of grading scheme is common in large classrooms; professors simply don’t have time to read through hundreds of essays. So rather than fear the “mega exam” situation, learn a few test preparation skills so that you will enter the test with confidence and leave with an A.

Exam studying starts on the first day of class

No one can cram a semester’s worth of information into his or her brains in one week. If you diligently complete your reading and assignments from the start of the class, the new information is much more likely to stick around for when you need it.

Ask the right questions.

You can’t ace an exam if you don’t know what the professor is looking for. While a good teacher will be clear up front about what is on the exam, others assume students should be able to figure it out for themselves. If the material doesn’t seem to be focused, have a chat with your teacher or teaching assistant to be sure you’re studying the right material.

Saddle up a posse

You should do most of your studying alone, but an occasional session with a study group can be extremely helpful. Discussing the course with your peers will help you pick up on things in the lessons that you may have missed. If you’ve skippered any classes, your study group can help by sharing information that was covered on that day.

Eat a good meal before your exam

You will have a hard time concentrating on the test if your stomach is rumbling. It’s very difficult to think about eating food when you are nervous or stressed but it is essential to be nourished before you sit for three hours trying to recall your studies. An ideal pre-exam meal includes whole grains, lean meats and vegetables. You don’t want to be overstuffed from a greasy, salt-laden supper either. Keep it light and healthy so you neither feel too full or too hungry. Being properly hydrated will also help you function optimally, however, be careful not to drink too much. Even if your exam invigilator allows bathroom breaks, they will cost you time.

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