Gearing Up for the Exam Without the Cram

Gearing Up for the Exam without the Cram

By Aisling Sampson

It’s hard to believe exams start in a few short weeks. How did we get to the end of term so quickly? This is the point in the term where stopping for a few minutes to see where you are at in terms of exam prep will pay off. The exam schedule is finalized, so you know when you are writing what, and by now most professors have given a fair bit of information of what to expect on the exam. So, take a few minutes out of your current assignment crush to make your plan and avoid the last-minute exam cram madness

Where are you now?

For each exam, check where you are at in the way of study materials. Go through your learning objectives, outcome expectations, chapters, or any other prep material and see where you are at. What notes do you have?  What you don’t you have? How comfortable with the material are you? Do you have study notes prepared, or are you still compiling? Is that section of the course completely untouched? Use a coding method that appeals to you – numeric, colour, or alphabetic and code each section/module as: ready to go, needs study notes, needs better understanding, and untouched. Use your codes to prioritize your time by importance, how much you need to do, how long before the exam, and weight of the exam to create a plan for your study time.

What Next?

Now you know your priorities, spend a little time studying from your prepared notes and then work on your top priority. You might be tempted to focus exclusively on your top priorities, but if you start studying with your prepared notes now, even for 10 - 20 minutes a day, you’ll be way ahead come crunch time. It doesn’t matter what format your study notes are in, but spaced retrieval practice and testing yourself give the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to recalling information later. So start early to reduce your stress and enjoy the process.