Being a student is a full-time job. It requires motivation, organization, and the ability to manage your time efficiently.
Besides these things, a successful student needs to know how to study well and not just study hard. It is somewhat of a myth to believe that in studying a lot and cramming for exams and tests, success will be achieved. The amount of studying that goes into preparing for a test does not always bring about the expected positive results. Students are taught methods of study by their teachers and are expected to use these techniques even though they may not be suitable to all people.
By knowing how to study in a way that works best for the student, he or she is able to focus and direct energy toward tasks that require the most attention, and decrease some of the stress that comes with being in school.
Kevin Paul, author of Study Smarter, Not Harder, has compiled some of the ways an individual can go about learning to do this. Along with addressing why learning how to study smart is effective, Paul offers tools to help an individual with their studies and teach them some ways to be successful in their studies.
One of the areas of study that the author focuses on is exam preparation. Exam preparation remains vital to being successful in school and continues to be relevant today even though we are constantly required to update our skills and methods of learning due to the increased speed of information’s creation. Exams are an indicator of what you have learned in a course and how well you know the information that is taught. Doing well on exams increases your self-esteem as a student and encourages you to do well on other projects and exams: preparation is the key to the desired results.
To effectively prepare for an exam, approach the course itself in a way that will make studying easier. Some of the ways to do this are to:
- Make sure you know how your grades will be calculated. For example, know how many tests and assignments the course has and how each are weighted. This gives you an idea of the importance of each and how much focus should be applied to the assignments and exams. This will help you to prioritize and manage your time efficiently.
- Create a realistic study plan for the course that allows for the material to be covered well. This alleviates some stress when the school year becomes busier.
- Make sure you keep up with the course readings. Although it may be difficult to complete each reading on time for every class, keep up as much as possible, as this makes studying for the exam easier and will require you to simply review what you have read as opposed to teaching yourself a concept that should have been learned earlier in the course.
- Attend every class and be an active learner by taking notes and reflecting on the concepts that are taught in the class. This will help you absorb and truly learn the information given to you, making it easier for you to study. These methods of preparing for an upcoming exam are a general approach to the study process. They shape your attitude toward learning in a way that will improve your study habits and make them much more effective. Ultimately, the goal in the preparation phase is to create the optimum state of mind for maximum learning.
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