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Exam Success Strategies

A how to for succeeding at exams

Make a Study Plan

  1. Determine the main topics and content that you will be tested. The main topics can be identified through
    • Textbook chapters  
    • Lecture notes
    • Previous exams and quizzes 
    • Instructor's handouts
    • Information instructor gives or reviews
    • Course syllabus
  2. Organize content
    • Integrate notes from the textbook and lectures
    • Connect material to the important ideas and issues in the course
    • Predict exam questions to help you practice 
      • What are the big course ideas (major themes)  - organize content thematically
  3. Identify the topics that you want to prioritize.
    • Content that is least familiar to you
    • Content that is most likely to be emphasized on the exam
    • Content that is challenging 
  4. Identify specific study strategies depending on the different content you are being tested on.
    • Practice the way you are going to be tested. This helps your brain to practice getting information out of your head.
    • When you reread your text and notes, that helps get information in your head, but not out, as an exam requires
  5. Use your calendar to identify times when you can review material to prepare for the exam
    • You will learn more effectively if you space out your studying over time.
    • Identify small chunks of study time over several days (or weeks) leading up to an exam.
    • Allocate enough time - every course is different. Some courses are more challenging or are testing you on larger amounts of material than others.