Many of us fear exams and the risk of going “blank”. With so much to do in school, how do we deal with and prepare for exams? Is there any secret to acing your exams? Well, there isn’t a fixed formula, but this article will provide some tips which you can use for your exam preparation. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!
#1: Start Revision Early
Time is of the essence and procrastination is not an option. Starting revision early is one of the best ways to do well for your exam. The reason for this is that your mind requires time to process the knowledge which it has absorbed. Furthermore, many exams such as that of Biology and Geography have enormous amounts of content, which are impossible to memorise in short periods of time. By spreading your revision time out over a longer period of time (I’m talking months), you will feel less stressed and have more time for other activities. This also gives more room for potential procrastination lapses and allows for more flexible planning. Take my advise and don’t cram. Cramming never works as your mind is not able to take large amounts of information in a single sitting. Information will just end up overwriting other information and you will not be able to remember anything. In fact, the forgetting curve, founded by Hermann Ebbinghaus, estimates that 70% of learned information is forgotten the next day. You might be able to remember everything the day before the exam, but you won’t be able to recall anything the next day.
#2: Don’t Memorise Blindly
Of course, memory is important. However, memorising blindly can do more harm to your test scores than good. It’s like having the material to build a house, but not having the blueprints to do so. Likewise, before memorising any content, do ensure that you have a clear understanding of the concepts behind it. For example, you could first read your textbook one or two times and check if you are able to understand its concepts. In the event that you do not understand any part of the textbook or material, do seek help from your teacher or instructor as soon as possible. Only after you are able to understand the concepts should you start memorising the content. This helps to facilitate better memory and recall. As Warren Buffet once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” Memory and understanding go hand in hand. You cannot memorise without understanding what you are memorising
#3: Use Flashcards
Flashcards are a great tool for assessing how much you know and how much you don’t know. This helps you to identify your weaknesses and work on them. Using this strategy increases your efficiency manifold, as you spend less time working on what you already know and have memorised, and spend more time on what you don’t know and have forgotten. This is the exact reason why highlighting your notes and rereading your textbook is useless. This method, which uses passive recall, does none of the things flashcards can do. The danger of merely rereading your textbook lies in the illusion of understanding, where you might end up confusing fluency of the text with understanding. You simply have no idea of what you know and don’t know. Flashcards, on the other hand, use the concept of active recall, which prepares your mind for potential question-and-answer scenarios and strengthens retrieval pathways.
This post is a short one, but I hope that the tips were of help to your exam preparation. The key to acing your exams is not intelligence, but rather your study strategy. To learn is not enough. We need to learn how to learn.
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