Learning is a process, and the more you do it the better you understand the subject matter, and with better understanding, memorizing becomes easier. This analogy also applies to studying to write exams. You shouldn’t only study for exams when you have few days ahead of you. The preparation should start early enough to enable you to go through all you’ve learned.
Your actions and inactions towards an exam day can determine whether you will pass or fail. Whatever you do during this period has its repercussions. In athletics, a marathon runner wouldn’t begin his/her training just a day to the main event. So you should also prepare in advance for a test to have enough time with your books and other reading materials to avoid putting pressure on the brain. Here are some strategies you can employ to ensure effective learning as you get closer to examination.
As you prepare for exams, several things must be considered and your attitude must reflect the seriousness you attach to it. As such, you need to:
- Get ready for your first test immediately after you receive your reading materials and syllabus for the semester. Adopt a specific learning strategy you are comfortable with and plan to execute it.
- Give yourself enough time through the learning process.
- Plan your studying schedules to include break times
- Don’t stress yourself with long hours of studies. Break materials into pieces and consume little by little
- Create your own learning style
Strategies for Pre-Reading, Reading, and Post-Reading
- Learn to create pre-reading questions on assigned topics, and before you start reading the chapters, test your knowledge on it.
- Don’t just go straight into reading chapters/sections of the assigned topic, instead accustom yourself with them with a quick scan through the headings, main points, and illustrations.
- When you come across new/strange words, find the meaning according to their usage in the chapter.
- Create a vocabulary dictionary for new words
- Make sure you create your own notes using the main points. It should be simpler, easy to read and understand, compared to the main learning material.
- It is highly possible to come across things you don’t understand as you read. In such cases, note them down, and seek further explanation from your teacher or classmates.
- If you need further clarification on a topic, visit your school library or any available facility related to what you are seeking.
- Prepare study questions throughout your studies.
Preparing for lecture and note-taking
- Before attending a lecture, read through the day’s topic to have background knowledge on it. Through that, you can also prepare a list of questions to ask your teacher.
- You should always take note during lessons by writing down the main points and highlights.
- If your lecturer speaks faster than you can comprehend, seek permission to do an audio recording of the lecture.
- Another way of matching the pace of your lecturer is by taking notes in shorthand and using abbreviations.
- In case the lecturer referred to several pages or sections in the learning material, write the pages or sections numbers down. If he/she also mentioned an external source, write it down for future studies.
- After class, review your notes by comparing them with others. You can then prepare personal notes using the recorded audio or points you wrote.
- Read through your study materials
- Learn in groups made up of competent and serious students and be highly involved with it
- Test your ability by setting yourself some questions
- Make use of flashcards to improve your memory
- Explore other reading and learning materials related to your topic