With the fall term coming to an end soon and final exams just around the corner, there’s no time to mess around. So, we asked Alison Parry, Capilano U learning specialist in Counselling and Learning Support, for some tips on how best to prepare for exams. Here’s what she had to say.

At the post-secondary level, exam preparation begins from the very first day of classes and involves attending classes regularly, keeping up with assignments, reviewing lecture notes and reading material on a regular basis, and asking for more information when unclear. If you do this, exam preparation is simply reviewing information you have already studied and learned which produces better results. Cramming for exams isn’t the best strategy as it takes time to process and learn information. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

1.  Find out about the test
Understanding what’s going to be on an exam is a critical part of exam preparation, as it influences how much time you need to study and how you might approach the review process. Ask your instructor what topics will be covered, what types of questions will be asked (multiple-choice, true/false, short answer, essay, etc.), how many of each type of question will be asked and how they will be weighted, and what percentage of your final grade the exam is worth. This will help you decide which areas to spend the most time on during the review process and will help alleviate any exam anxiety.

2.  Organize your study material
Before you start to review, organize your material (notes, textbook chapters, journal articles, etc.) by the major course topics, usually indicated on your course outline. This becomes a meaningful cluster of inter-related information that should be learned and placed in memory as a unit.

3.  Make a study plan
Consider developing a study plan to ensure that you have time to review all the necessary material before the test. The amount of time you need to conduct your final review will depend on the amount of material have to cover, the difficulty level of the material, how much the exam is worth, and how many other exams you have to study for at the same time. Once you’ve determined how much time you need, add a couple of extra days as a cushion and always remember to leave the last day to go over your review material one last time.

For more tips on preparing for exams, come to the Exam Preparation & Memory Strategies and Exam Writing Strategies workshops on Tuesday, November 12. Or make an appointment with Alison Parry, learning specialist, by calling 604.984.1744.

Submitted by Counselling & Learning Support

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