5 Study Tips to Ace Any Exam With Confidence
Tests aren’t everything, but getting a low score on a key exam could affect your life. While concepts like international learning can enrich our everyday lives, there’s no denying that final exams gate keep you from better jobs, exclusive colleges, advanced placement, and more.
For all of these reasons, you have every right to stress over your exams. Is it helpful? Absolutely not. That stress can heighten your emotions and make it harder to focus or do well on tests.
However, there are ways to lower test anxiety and manage your expectations. While there’s no magic pill that can help you ace your exams, you can improve your chance for success.
How to Ace Your Exam Using Our 5 Study Tips
If you’re struggling to study effectively (or at all), don’t lose hope. There are plenty of useful study tips that can help you ace your exams or manage your anxiety before an end-of-year test.
1. Understand That a Poor Grade Isn’t the End
In the intro, we discussed how exam results gatekeeper you from reaching your career goals. This is partially true. While yes, failing an exam will prevent you from getting specialty licenses, like a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, it won’t prevent you from taking the test again.
In college, you can make up for a failed exam by retaking it or doing well on other assignments. Test anxiety is normal, but it shouldn’t affect your life. If it is, speak to a medical professional right away. There could be an underlying condition that may be affecting your school work.
2. Take a High-Quality Exam Preparation Course
Once you’ve managed your test anxiety, you can start studying more effectively. With that said, many students don’t know how to study or what tops they should focus on. This often happens with specialty certificates, like a CFA, where there are different CFA exam levels and content.
Instead of struggling to make an appropriate study rubric, sign up for an exam prep course. They can provide detailed information about the nature and format of tests while teaching you test-taking strategies that improve your performance. Plus, they often come with practice tests.
3. Work in Short Bursts and Don’t Multitask
The best way to study is by completing small chunks of work every day. Cram sessions aren’t just ineffective; they’re also detrimental to your health. If you’re constantly studying, you can tell your brain and your body that you’re doing what you can to pass and get a fantastic grade.
Besides studying as soon as possible, studying in short, intense bursts can be effective for some people. That means you’ll work 40 minutes at full intensity, then take a 15-minute break.
These strategies are more effective if you’re working continuously over 2 or more hours, but multitasking is never a good idea. Your brain isn’t made to separate its attention between two or more things. More likely, it picks one thing and does the other one poorly, so there’s no point.
4. Study in the Test Location or Use Noise Ques
Our brains love familiar environments, which is why you’re more likely to remember something if you “retrace your steps.” Certain ques, smells, and places will jog our memory, and you can use that to your advantage. When studying, try to mimic the environment of the test-taking room.
If that isn’t possible, try to feel the same way you would during the exam or study without any sounds. However, if you’re taking a test online, listen to the same songs you played during your study session. Music is one of the quickest ways to transport your mind to another location.
5. Rephrase Material by Hand or Vocalize
Another strange study phenomenon is rewriting, rephrasing, or vocalizing study material. We can memorize concepts quicker if we write things by hand, as the unique, complex, spatial, and tactical information sent to our brains forces us to process what’s learned in a detailed way.
While you don’t have to rewrite your whole textbook, you should write down concepts that don’t seem to stick. Rephrasing or rewriting can also help you grasp complex topics with ease.
Speaking out loud is another way to improve your focus and retention. By choosing to vocalize, you’re telling your brain that it needs to actively understand what it’s saying. If you’re not comfortable vocalizing in person, use the rephrasing method until you can spend time alone.