Some general tips:
I highly suggest to start preparing for the test as soon as you know about it. An hour or so a day for several days studying will yield much better results than cramming it a day or even the night before the actual exam. If the course is mostly conceptual material, make your self a study guide from all the notes you have gathered and go over the study guide a couple times a day. After a few days, you will even skip some of the study guide because your brain will tell you, “you know this!” If the course and the exam involves problem solving, do the problems covered in class over and over until you can fly through them. Skip the ones you are certain you know how to solve.
It is very important to ask your instructor what format the test is going to be and if there is a review document available. Knowing if the test is multiple choice, essay, problems, or some other format will help you prepare for the test because you will know what to expect. You also should ask if the test material is from the textbook, lecture, or both. For example, if the test complied of just lecture material, then that will save time because you won’t even have to open the text book. Some professors are shady about revealing such information, but majority of the time they actually want their student’s to do well, and will be glad to answer your questions.
Form study groups! You actually learn a lot better when teaching others. Furthermore, peers often explain information you might not understand by putting it into common terms you can relate to. So, make friends in your class, exchange contact information, and get socially involved. Studies have shown students who engage in group study sessions out perform those that do not. You have nothing to lose, and you will benefit yourself and everyone else in the study group. Inform your peers you are determined to ace the exam and they will feed off your motivation and knowledge.
I will write more about test preparation techniques and go into more detail about how to ace any exam. In the mean time, if you are in a rush and want to digest as much information as possible before the next semester starts, I highly recommend reading “How To Get The Best Grades With The Least Amount Of Effort” by Dr. Marc Dussault. You can find the book here.
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