I recently had one of those exams that takes over your life, gives you anxiety, and makes you feel as if your life will be over if you don’t pass. After literally giving myself a cold and feeling like I did awful after taking the test, I have come up with some ways to better prepare.
Even though I have no plans of becoming a lawyer anytime soon, I still had to study and memorize over thirty cases for my Media Law test. Sounds fun right? I figured if I dedicated a day to making the study guide and a few hours before the test the next day to memorize the material, that I would be golden. Oh, how I was so, so wrong. Not only did I grossly underestimate how much time would go into studying for this test, but I also didn’t realize just how much content six chapters could really have. Needless to say, I cannot stress enough how important it is to give yourself enough time to study. You don’t want to have a sore back from sitting on your living room floor for six plus hours and a tired hand to match. I realize that there are those exams that you can study for a few hours or even the night before. I’ve mastered and named myself the queen of procrastination, but unless you are totally confident that you can study in only a few hours, give yourself that extra Sunday morning to prepare. Your body will thank you in the long run. Not to mention your sanity.
Another tip I can share with you all is my favorite method of studying: flash cards! I don’t get to make them very often because most of my exams involve an eight-page essay on the central themes in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” but occasionally I’ll have that bio exam where I have a hundred vocab words to memorize. I realize flash cards aren’t some secret method that has only just been discovered, but I don’t think enough students take advantage of this method. Sure, you can glance over your notes, but your mind isn’t fully taking it in. When you have a flashcard, you are actively quizzing yourself and thus you are more focused. I also like to split up my flashcards into mini piles. I start off by memorizing one pile of flashcards and go through them a few times to make sure that I really know everything. Then I do the same thing with the next set of flashcards. Once I’ve memorized those two piles, I put them together and go through all of them at once. I keep doing this until I’ve gone through every pile. When you have more than a hundred terms to memorize, it can feel incredibly overwhelming. By sorting the flash cards into piles, the process seems a little less daunting. When I studied for my exam I did this all in one day and I felt like I would crash if I crammed anything else into my head. If you memorize a new pile of cards every day, you won’t feel as mentally exhausted. Flash cards might take longer to make, but they can help get you that A.
With these simple methods and a few neon highlighters, you’ll be more than prepared for your next exam.