Stressing about an exam? Try a dress rehearsal! | Arts and Science Online

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Stressing about an exam? Try a dress rehearsal!

One of our students recently shared their experience with writing old exams before writing the actual exam. See their email below for an awesome study strategy you may want to adopt!

Hi Professor,

I can't thank you enough for making those old term tests available - and for strongly recommending that we do 3 or 4 dress rehearsals prior to the real thing. Here's how things went: 

  • Practice test #1: 56%, took me 4 hours to finish
  • Practice test #2: 69%, 3 hours
  • Practice test #3: 77%, 2 hours
  • Practice test #4: 89%, 1.5 hour
  • Term test: 95%, 1.25 hour! 

The test would have been a complete disaster if I hadn't practiced at all, and even the first two runs stressed me out because they took way longer than the allotted time. But continuing to work through those tests really made a difference - both to my confidence level and, clearly, to the end result! Obviously I plan to use this same study method for the final.

Please feel free to share this email if you feel it would help drive the point home for other students. 

If your professor makes old tests available, take advantage of them for practice! Even if there are no tests available, you can make your own based on homework questions from the textbook. By writing a practice exam, you’re training yourself to adapt to the allotted time period, work well under pressure, and strategically analyze and manage your exam writing process.

Who doesn’t want less surprises when the exam comes around??

Happy studying!