Exams and exams cause stress and examination anxiety for many students. In order not to lose your nerve, here you will find helpful learning tips and tricks for perfect exam preparation.
Exam Preparation Tips for students
Tip 1: Register for the exam
You should not miss this first step of the exam preparation: the registration for the exam. Without this you cannot take the exam. The head of the study programme often sends out e-mails a few weeks before the examination, indicating that you can register for the examination. The professors often point this out again.
If you still missed the registration for the examination, contact the study administration or the dean’s office immediately. There you will find out whether you can still take the exam with you or whether you have to wait until the next semester.
Tip 2: Reviewing the learning material (2 months before)
Already 2 months before the exam you should take care of the necessary learning materials in the course of your exam preparation. As a rule, libraries do not have enough copies of books for all students.
Therefore borrow the books at an early stage. Alternatively, you can reserve them in the library for the period of exam preparation. In this way you can avoid unnecessary stress caused by interlibrary loans, copying work or expensive acquisition of books shortly before the exam.
It is also possible to buy cheap books in online markets or antiquarian bookshops. Besides there are in the Internet exchange stock exchanges for books.
Arrange your learning materials by date and subject area to create a structure. This makes it easier for you to look up and repeat the examination material.
Tip 3: Reviewing the examination documents
In addition to the necessary books, you should also make sure that you have all the necessary documents from the lecture or seminar, such as transcripts. If this is not the case, a fellow student may be able to help you out. It also doesn’t hurt to compare your own transcripts with those of fellow students to make sure that you haven’t forgotten any contents for the exam preparation.
Tip 4: Identify your own learning type
There are 4 different types of learners:
The auditory type of learner who can best retain information when he hears it. You are an auditory learner if you like listening to audio books, prefer to say vocabulary to yourself, or remember presentations well. You can learn, for example, by recording the material and listening to it over and over again. Reading something to yourself also helps the auditory learner to prepare for the exam.
The visual type of learner who is best able to remember learning material when he sees or reads it himself. You are a visual learner if you can easily memorize pictures or tables, like to read and remember what you have read. It is also typical that you like to take many written notes during exam preparation. Pictures or graphics help the visual learner to keep what he or she has learned. Learning tip: Think up pictures of the learning content in your mind.
The communicative type of learner who learns best through discussions or conversations. You are a communicative type of learner if you keep information in conversations well and like to discuss it. If you learn communicatively, you can speak with others, ask questions and seek group discussions. Above all, learning groups are helpful for this type of learner when preparing for exams.
The motor type of learner who learns through movement. You are a motor type of learner if you move while learning and walk around, like to try things out for yourself, experiment and eat while learning. It helps this type of learner to walk up and down while learning and to supplement the material with gestures and facial expressions.
The 4 types of learners cannot always be clearly distinguished from each other. Your exam preparation is most effective if you combine different learning methods.
Tip 5: Set goals
If you want to be successful, you have to have goals. Therefore set yourself a concrete learning goal. This can be a very good grade, which you want to achieve in the exam, a simple “passed” or also the knowledge extension for yourself. Ask yourself: How long do you have to learn for this goal? How do you learn best to reach your goal?
Tip 6: Creating a learning plan (7 weeks before)
On the basis of the above learning tips you can make a plan for your exam preparation. Create a weekly or monthly plan in which you write down what content you need to learn and how you can do it all in the preparation time. Here you will find a learning plan in which you can enter learning goals, tasks, necessary materials and deadlines. In a further table you record on which days of the week and at what time you would like to take your exam preparation. Arrange your daily routine into learning blocks
Plan enough time buffer in case you don’t manage your daily workload. It is also important to plan time for regular activities, such as university sports or meetings with friends, during your exam preparation. This will give you more variety in your daily life and you can reward yourself for what you have learned.
Tip 7: Workplace design
Your workplace should be designed in such a way that you feel comfortable and can concentrate well – after all, you will spend some time there during exam preparation. It is important to have a comfortable and ergonomic chair, good lighting and adequate ventilation. Anything that might distract you during your learning phase should be as far away from your workplace as possible.
Tip 8: Start with exam preparation (6 weeks before)
Even if it’s hard, pick yourself up, conquer your inner pig and start learning for the exam. Mostly the overcoming to start learning is much more difficult than the learning itself. Your exam preparation will be worth it, so motivate yourself! Here you will find effective learning tips.
Tip 9: Turn off the Internet!
If you have to learn on the computer and you keep catching yourself surfing, you should test your learning progress when the Internet is switched off. If you still don’t want to miss out on surfing, you should set a fixed time a day – best as a break between the learning phases or as a reward for completing your daily learning workload.
Tip 10: Avoiding typical mistakes in exam preparation
Not only can the Internet interfere with exam preparation, but the so-called “delayitis” also prevents exam preparation. These are the top 3 learning errors:
Only start learning the evening before the exam: You can avoid this mistake by creating a learning plan in time and following it.
Postponementitis or procrastination: Cleaning your apartment, surfing the Internet or finally visiting your grandmother again – if you want to avoid the exam preparation, you will often find “enormously important” things that urgently need to be done. In order to avoid this, you should set up precise learning goals and give yourself a small reward when you have reached them.
Unstructured learning: The learning plan and concrete goals will help you here as well.
Tip 11: Don’t be misled by others
Follow up on your exam preparation plan. Don’t be misled by fellow students who tell you how much or how little they have done or are about to do. Continue with your workload. After all, you have calculated how much time you need yourself and recorded this in your learning plan.
Tip 12: Keep calm (1 week before)
Slowly an end of your exam preparation should be in sight. Don’t fall into fanatical learning now, because the brain can’t take in new content all the time. Allow yourself free time and sufficient breaks even in the final sprint phase. 2 days before the exam you should finish your preparations.
Tip 13: Relax and take a break (1 day before)
Don’t learn anything new the day before the exam, but review your documents for the exam. Put your learning materials aside by the evening at the latest and try to relax: Go to sports, cook something tasty with friends or watch a movie. Don’t go to bed too late, you should be well rested on your big day.
Tip 14: Exam day
Get up in time, freshen up, have a light breakfast and go through the documents again if you like. Get on the road in time and plan half an hour more than usual if a bus breaks down or a tire bursts. Also remember to pack your identity card and student ID card.
Tip 15: During the exam
The last tip for exam preparation: Read the tasks carefully and think about a script for written tasks after which you would like to work on the tasks. Drink enough, this will help you to concentrate.
In case of a blackout you should try to stay calm. Take a deep breath and think again. Imagine the situation during exam preparation when you learned the contents that you don’t want to think of. For example, draw a mind map to help you get back on your feet. If this doesn’t work either, go to another task first.