Study Strategy

Use these Questions to Study Better for Your Next Exam

Exam results just came out and I’m guessing you might be printing off syllabus material for your fall exam and trying to get yourself motivated to start studying….. but maybe next week.

Before you get back into study mode, I want you to do a little exercise with me:

Think back to the Spring and ask yourself these two questions about how studying for Exam 7 went:

  • What went well?
  • What didn't go well?

This was an exercise I tried to do after each exam I took. Well, I did it a few times at least.

So… what’s the point?

The point is to figure out which study habits helped you and which ones hurt you when preparing for the exam. Then, you can take advantage of these insights to study better and more efficiently for your next exam.

Here’s what I mean:

Maybe you were a lot more focused studying at certain times of the day:

  • If so, then make sure to always study at that time, at least when you can.

Maybe you went straight through the entire syllabus on your first pass. Then, when you started your second pass you realized you forgot everything about the first couple papers:

  • If so, then make sure to do some staggered reviews along the way this time.

The point is to take a quick look back and reflect on how you studied for Exam 7 to see what lessons you can learn. Then, use those lessons to study better for your next exam.

It’s easy to just put the last exam behind you and focus on the next one, but take a second to ask yourself those two questions so that you can study better.

How to Get the Most out of Practice Exams

To give yourself the best chance of seeing your number on the pass list in a couple months, you need to get the most out of the practice exams you take. Fundamentally, the only real reason for taking practice exams is to maximize the points you get on the real exam. Keeping that in mind, below are some of the key benefits of practice exams that I focused on as I went through the exams. Getting the most out of these benefits had a clear impact on my ability to pass exams.

Benefit #1 - Practice Your Exam Taking Strategy

Knowing all the material well enough to host your own exam seminar is NOT enough to make sure you’ll pass an exam. Knowledge, understanding and problem-solving skills only get you so far. Unfortunately, we all know many people (and perhaps even ourselves) who could recite the syllabus backwards, but still fell short with a 5.

To maximize your points on the exam, you need an Exam Taking Strategy. By an exam taking strategy, I mean you need to know (and should practice on your practice exams) the following: