The semester is often packed with lectures, seminars and tutorials. There is not always enough time for follow-up of the learning material. In addition, one or the other students tends to push learning ahead of them. Then, a few weeks before a test, you suddenly realize that there is not much time left, after all, you usually have more than one exam during the semester – the learning volume adds up. Contrary to all recommendations many students learn at the last minute. This may work in most cases, but it is very stressful. The following exam preparation tips will help you make learning more effective and stress-free. So you can sit back and relax while your classmates almost spin just before the exam.
Not every topic provides enthusiasm for a single person. It should be kept in mind, however, that the test is linked to a personal goal. If you keep reminding yourself that, your learning motivation increases significantly even with “boring” topics. It is helpful, for example, also to reward you for attained learning goals (for example, by spending a day off or having a cold beer after work).
Vary your learning methods
In order to maintain learning motivation, you should acquire different methods of learning. For example, you can take a walk in between and recite the learning content during the excursion.
Good lighting, a pleasant climate and other factors in workplace design
In order to be able to memorize the material for an exam, the workplace must be designed accordingly. The room should be well lit and well ventilated. The temperature must not be too high or too low and disturbing external noise must be shielded as much as possible. In addition, the height of the desk chair should be adapted to the table – pay attention to a comfortable sitting posture.
When learning, you have to be careful not to bother with trifles, i. From time to time you should have “courage to the gap”. Set priorities and create daily and weekly plans that will serve you as a control over how you progress in learning.
Adjust the learning rhythm
The time with the highest performance differs from person to person. Most people have the highest receptiveness between 9 and 10 o’clock in the morning and between 16 and 20 o’clock. Find out at which time you are most receptive and adjust your learning rhythm accordingly.
Regular breaks during exam preparation
What many students underestimate is the importance of breaks in the learning phase. Studies show that optimal exam preparation is 60 percent pure learning. The rest of the time should be used for rest breaks. In addition, this time is a kind of buffer zone in the event of unforeseen events. You should take a break at least one hour for 5 minutes at the latest. Go in your learning phases as often as possible in the fresh air and do sporty. This provides the necessary balance and makes “the head free”.
In order to reduce the psychological and physical stress of the exam preparation, you should drink regularly and sufficiently. About 2 liters of water per day contribute to better performance.
The application of reading strategies
The literature for the exam preparation is usually very extensive. In order to approach the content step by step, you can, for example, use the so-called BASIS method. The “B” stands for scrolling through the individual texts. This allows you to orientate yourself and you get an insight into the information that the text offers you. Then you have to select the essential sections (“A”) by searching the texts for keywords (“S”). The sections found are read intensively (“I”). So that you can remember the material or save it in memory (“S”), you should ask questions about the sections.
Donkey bridges and other methods to deepen what you have learned
Complex information needs to be processed mentally so you can remember it. Build so-called donkey bridges, think of your own examples of a fact or compare different text passages together. So you can feel the learning material guaranteed better.
Brainstorming, reformulation and other repetition techniques
The information can only be stored in memory if it is repeated at regular intervals. Various repetitive techniques such as brainstorming or reformulation are suitable for this purpose. Through such techniques, the learned remains “flexible”, so you can retrieve it even after the exam preparation, ie in the exam.
Tips for memorizing
There are exams in every study program that require a lot of learning by heart. Fewest students are taught suitable techniques for this. So-called mnemonics are anything but hard to apply and greatly simplify the memorizing of information. In the following two mnemonics are presented.
Forming sensory units or telling a story
The formation of sensory units is about subdividing the subject matter into various “independent” units. If you want to remember, for example, the number 3210072412, you can proceed as follows: “3-2-1 Mine” is the slogan of a very well-known company. “007” is a secret agent and “2412” is the Christmas date. From these individual units can make a story: On Ebay James Bond organized gifts for Christmas. The more unusual the story, the better you can remember it.
The loci method
For this method, a large room is an advantage. Choose 10 distinctive points in your own four walls, which you always leave in the same order. Associate with these items the terms or other information that you want to learn. If you want to retrieve the information later, you just have to go through your room in your mind’s eye. Of course, this also works with the way to the university, with the way to shopping and other places.
Forming learning groups
Also forming learning groups can be helpful. There are a few tips that help to form an effective learning group:
The learning rhythm of the individual members should be as equal as possible.
the members should ideally use different learning methods. This is learned in different ways.
the learning material should be divided thematically among the group members. Google Docs and other collaborative work tools help to virtually continue learning.
Each group member should record their results in writing and make them available to others.
binding dates should be set and adhered to.
In the end, the members of the learning group should talk about the whole learning material. The emphasis here is on sharing: by talking about a topic and by discussing this topic, the contents are better internalized.
Helpful tips for exam preparation on the day of the exam
Exam preparation continues on the day of the exam: make sure your pen is working and see if you have packed your water, your breakfast, and everything else you need for the exam. Inform yourself in time, where the exam takes place and plan early arrival. That you should be in time on the spot, is probably self-evident. Should you spend the same every morning after getting up, do not give up on the day of the test! This calms and gives security.
It can be very helpful to avoid so-called alarmists. Even good friends can make you “insane” with their behavior before a retreat. Are you aware of it, stay away from these people just before the exam and concentrate on yourself. Relaxation exercises can do wonders. For example, proper breathing can release all tension. Just before the exam, you can close your eyes and think of something positive (for example, the situation after the exam). If you have more questions, experts will gladly help you.