Final Thoughts on Exam Preparation and Memory Techniques
Throughout this eBook, we have tried to offer you a wide range of study and memorization tips designed to help you achieve a successful academic term. Each student is different, so you may find some information and advice more useful than others. The main takeaways here are that learning and the revision process for exams does not have to feel like sheer torture nor does it have to be stressful if you arm yourself with the right tools and work on techniques that maximize your memory capabilities.
Before you sit down and plan out your revising strategy, think about what learning and memory techniques will serve you best. Or, if you are not sure, go back and review the chapters in this eBook and practice some of the techniques that have been described here. Of course, there are still other memory tools as well but the one s mentioned here are the most popular and have been proven to be the most effective. Also, try to put some of the note-taking and speed reading techniques presented at the start of the book to further your learning and memory momentum.
Now that you have all those tactics and strategies in place, it is time to think about the actual exam and end this book with some tips on what to do just before the exam as well as during the exam process. First, to get yourself ready, try these tips:
- Do not psych yourself out by putting so much emphasis on how important the exam is to your grade or academic career. Sure, it is important but try to think about the exam day as being just like any other day in order to keep your nerves at bay and help you to relax. Stick to your normal routine as if it was any other day.
- Think ahead to how you will feel when your exams are over. There will be that sense of relief and accomplishment. Visualise how you will feel so that you can use that good feeling during your exam as a relaxation technique.
- Get some good sleep. By the time you reach the night before exam time, it is time to stop revising. If you stuck to your revision schedule, then you studied enough! If you continue studying the night before, you are just working against yourself and wearing your brain down.
- Have all your tools together the night before, including pens, pencil, rubber, ruler or whatever else you need. Getting these altogether the night before saves the morning panic that could increase your anxiety levels unnecessarily.
- Set your alarm to make sure you get up in plenty of time to have a good meal and not have to rush out the door. This helps fortify your brain, provide energy, and keep you calm!
When you are sitting down for the exam, remember these suggestions that will continue to keep you calm and focused as well as help you achieve those high marks:
- Get comfortable and set out your tools (pens, pencils, rubber, ruler, etc.) and your clock or wristwatch (if it is allowed).
- Check that you have everything you need and that nothing is missing like the question paper, answer papers, extra sheets of paper or exam book. Be sure to get what you need prior to the exam actually starting.
- Listen very carefully to all the instructions that are given or carefully read any of the instructions provided in writing. If you do not understand anything, immediately ask and get your confusion sorted out. You do not want panic to set in during the exam, and you do not want to feel unsure about what it is that you are to do on the exam.
Now, it is that time that you have been preparing for and hopefully not agonising over – exam time is upon you. Here is what to expect and what you can do to keep yourself on the right track – after all, you do not want all that hard work of learning to read faster, taking more effective notes, training your brain to become better at recall and revising to go to waste!
- Take the time to read all the questions and information very carefully. Do not rush into what you are doing as you may miss some very important instructions that are critical to scoring high marks. Look for constraints that note you are to answer various questions in each section and what type of response is being sought from you for each of those sections and questions.
- Then, take each question or essay prompt and think about how you will approach it before you start writing. This means organise your thoughts and reach into those memory banks to pull out the coded information you will need to answer that question or put together that essay. This is where the mind map method really helps because the information is already organised into topics and subtopics that provide the pathway to the order in which to answer the question or respond to the prompt.
- Plan out your time and determine how much time you have for each section and be sure to leave yourself enough time at the end to read, review, and check what you have done in case you can make some changes or another important point comes to mind that you realise you inadvertently left out.
- Leaving enough time also allows you to spend more time on your penmanship. It is important to write as neatly as possible so that your professor does not misinterpret any of the information you have provided. This is crucial especially when it comes to writing out formulas or other types of technical information.
- Be complete with your information. For example, if you are working on mathematical questions, you need to show all your work to illustrate how you arrived at your answer; otherwise, you will not get full marks for that question.
- If you find at any point that your memory has somehow failed you on a particular section of the exam, do not panic! Simply go onto the next section or until you reach a portion of the exam where you have full confidence in your answer. In most exams, it really does not matter what questions you answer first. This will help you relax and regroup. You may actually find that this also helps your brain to get back to the right place and have that information ready for you when you return to that section of the exam.
- Be your own silent cheerleader by remaining positive and telling yourself that you can do this and that you are ready to show just how much you learned and how well you can apply it by providing examples and critical thinking skills. The positive reinforcement you can give yourself will also help stimulate your brain and keep it motivated to deliver the information you worked so hard to store away for exam time.
- If you still find yourself running short on time, be sure that you get an answer down for each section or question as you can still get some marks for partial answers in most cases. Think about at least getting that outline or mind map onto the page. And, then, if you have some time left, colour each one in with details and examples that reinforce those main concepts you have listed for each answer.
After reading this eBook, we hope you feel more confident about your learning, memorizing, presenting, revising and exam taking skills! After all, learning should be fun and meaningful as it is what provides the basis for a storehouse of knowledge and life skills that will serve you well beyond your academic career! Good luck!