How to achieve the best results in your university exams
The end of the semester comes around much more quickly than we expect and catches most students off-guard and not fully prepared for their exams. This time of year can be the most stressful period for students, especially for freshmen and international students in the US. If you’re both a freshman and an international student, you’re under additional strain and the pressure can hit the roof! Don’t worry guys! We’ve put together some top exam tips for you, so just pull yourself together and read on. Your success will be 100% guaranteed if you put these suggestions into practice.
1) Highlight and learn the most important material – Chances are, you’ve got a whole lot of material that you’re supposed to learn in a short space of time and you don’t know where to start. Many students make the mistake of trying to learn everything, focusing on every little detail, and they fail to comprehend the really important, basic stuff.
On the other hand, exam questions tend to be more general, testing your understanding of high-level concepts, with little focus on the details – professors know that most students forget the details and that the basics are what really matter.
So try to skip over the unimportant parts and focus on ‘getting’ the general ideas. Once you’ve fully understood and learned these high-level concepts, then you can move on and drill down to the details. Highlight everything you consider important in your textbook and take summary notes that will jog your memory when you revise the night before the exam.
2) Make sure you have all the materials needed – Often students are not well prepared for an exam because they are not equipped with all the required materials – books, textbooks, notes, articles etc. Don’t leave it till the last minute – make sure you’ve gathered all the materials and try to find additional sources. The more points of view you review, the better prepared you will be. Do your own research – on and offline. Call your friends and fellow students. Call your professors – they will never refuse to help.
3) Don’t wait till the last minute – The exam preparation process starts at the very beginning of the semester. Pay attention in lectures and take time to review your lessons in your free time. Be consistent and do not fall into the trap of thinking you can learn everything in just a day or two!
4) Study together with your friends – Humans are a naturally social animal, so you can be sure that studying in a group will be more fruitful, and certainly more fun, than studying on your own. Moreover, you can consult with your friends on different topics. This will save you a lot of time, which you can invest in further studying. Even if you’re a long distance away from your friends, you can still meet up using social media, internet and mobile communications…welcome to study groups in the 21st century!
5) Take a break the day prior to the exam – Give yourself a little bit of rest and relaxation time the day before the exam. It doesn’t have to be the whole day, but just an hour or two where you get to switch off from intense study. This will give your brain a chance to put some order to your thoughts. Do something you enjoy that normally leaves you feeling relaxed, like a sport or a trip to the cinema. Don’t try to tackle any new material the day before the exam – this should be the time to review your note-cards and to re-read essays that you have already prepared. Most importantly, get to bed early and get a good night’s sleep before the big day.
6) Do not panic – This might sound like a cliché, however it is crucial in terms of success. There’s no room for panic when it comes to exam-time at university. Remain calm no matter what! Your first exam as an international student can be scary, but you’ll gain valuable experience and this will help you to stay calm in stressful situations in the future.
Feeling better now? We bet you do! Remember – these are just some guidelines! It’s entirely up to you whether you achieve good results or not.
And what is your secret for getting great results in the exams? Share your top tips with us in the comments below.
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