Exam Study Tips To Live By

With exams soon approaching it is important to know your personal learning style and understand what the professors are expecting from you.

No matter what style of learner you are it all comes down to retention. Try a few methods, test yourself – or get your roommate to test you – and see if you are retaining any of the information. Just because your friends study one way doesn’t mean it is going to work for you, and vice versa.

Here are a few helpful exam prep and study tips to help get those A’s.


  • Take good notes – keep your notes together and date each entry.
  • Organize your notes whichever way you’re comfortable with.
  • Review the types of questions your professor asks and become familiar with them.
  • Schedule study-times with classmates- questioning each other can help increase your understanding and retention.
  • Be involved in your class – if you need clarification on a topic, just ask.
  • Ask questions in and out of class – this will help you to fully understand the concepts.
  • Review your notes everyday. When you are in class you should be taking notes, so it is important to review those notes consistently. Making sure you fully understand them is very important.
  • Review your notes before the next class – this helps you to identify points of confusion and prepares you for the lecture ahead.
  • Keep up on your reading – it does seem like a lot but it is worth it.
  • Many textbooks have quizzes at the end of each chapter, so test yourself.

Before the Exam

  • Be prepared at your last class to ask your professor to clarify anything.
  • Start studying early – don’t wait until the last minute.
  • Understand the type of test you are writing (essay, multiple choice, short answer etc.) and study appropriately – if they haven’t told you what the exam will be like, just ask.
  • Know if you are allowed to bring in a study sheet. If you can, be strategic with what you put on it.
  • Know where your exam will be written.
  • Have your required test equipment ready.
  • Read your study notes aloud.
  • Create flashcards.
  • Talk to your friends about what you are studying – it could make it a great conversation and hopefully help you retain your knowledge.
  • Create mental associations or mind maps.
  • Create mnemonics (word association) for lists and rules you need to memorize.
  • If you are studying parts of an object, then draw out the diagram.
  • Take regular study breaks – your brain needs a break to absorb what it has learned.
  • Get an appropriate amount of sleep before your exam – you might feel like you’re learning more during your all nighter but are you really retaining anything?
  • Study in a group – this isn’t for everyone but sometimes study groups let you talk out ideas and work out problems. You can also challenge one another and really make the information stick.
  • Alternate studying spots – studying doesn’t seem so bad when it’s under the sun or in your comfy chair.
  • Turn off all distractions.

The Exam Day/During the Exam

  • Arrive at the test room early.
  • Remind yourself that you’ve got this.
  • Focus on your goal.
  • Bring all required material.
  • Once you can write on your test, jot down all the information you are worried you might forget.
  • Review the entire test, then strategically prioritize the questions you are going to answer – start with the easy questions that you know and then move onto the more challenging ones.
  • Mentally plan your time.
  • Breathe! You have studied hard so you will do great.