Writing an exam is always a stressful time. There are many sources of information available to you, but where do you start? However hard it feels at times, studying really does work. It might take longer than expected sometimes, but there’s no substitute for studying well. The internet is an excellent source of information, so here are four ways in which it can help you with your revision.
Use a calendar to plan out when you’ll complete each section of your review. Be realistic about how much time you have to study for your exams, and decide how many hours per day/week you can dedicate to studying. You should set aside at least six weeks or so for reviewing before the exam date. Make sure that you keep up with this schedule; don’t fall behind! If possible, try to adjust the amount of time that you spend on each subject as it approaches the exam date. Spending two months studying for an economics final is probably not ideal – unless, of course, you are an economics major!
This doesn’t mean that every day should be dedicated to reviewing. Having time between your study sessions is useful because it helps you mentally process everything that you’ve learned. Not to mention, if you’re anything like most people, taking a break after some intense studying will give you the opportunity to forget what you just spent hours trying to memorize! You might also try breaking up your daily sessions into smaller chunks of time. This gives your brain a chance to absorb what you studied and makes it easier to recall later on. If possible, try not to study for more than about three hours per day; having some “down-time” will help keep your head clear so when it’s time for actual studying, you’ll be ready!
There are several online productivity tools and apps that you can use to organize a schedule that suits you. Some of them are even free.
It can be tempting to wait until the night before a test to start studying. However, it’s important to make sure that you start this process as soon as possible. Consider allocating at least 15-20 hours per week to review for your exams. If you try cramming everything at the last minute, you may find yourself overwhelmed and wasting a lot of time on topics that will never show up on an exam (and probably forgetting a good deal of what you do end up studying). It doesn’t hurt to start even earlier than that if possible – remember, the more time you give yourself between sessions, the more difficult it is going to become! Plus, most exams are cumulative, meaning that topics from throughout the semester are likely to come up.
The more time you give yourself to review each subject leading up to your exams, the better prepared you’ll be for all of them! Keep in mind that if you really want the material to stick, it’s important to take practice tests. This is particularly true for certain subjects and exams; like an insurance license test. Taking an insurance license exam practice test as many times as you can is a sure way to retain what you’re reading. Plus, nowadays, there are many great resources online to choose from.
One of the best ways to learn is to teach! Find study groups online that are willing to let you contribute your knowledge in an area that interests you. Most students are happy to share their insights when it comes to what they found helpful when preparing for tests, and this can be a great resource for finding different strategies to try out. If your schedule allows, seek out opportunities outside of class time where you can interact with other students in person, or consider joining an online group chat program like Skype or Google Hangouts, so everyone will feel comfortable participating. When choosing a study group, aim for one where everyone is motivated and willing to contribute. Tips for picking the best study group for you:
- Be sure that everyone is pulling their own weight! If people are not contributing, it’s easy for the quality of the group to suffer.
- Group members should be prepared and respectful. It’s definitely okay to disagree with what others have to say – after all, collaboration can help you understand different perspectives on a subject – but belittling or disrespecting someone else simply because they’re expressing their opinion is not acceptable. Everyone who participates in the study group should feel comfortable sharing their reasoning for their opinions without fear of judgment or antagonism from others.
The more active each student is in terms of participating within the group, the better your chances are at absorbing everything you need to know by the time exams roll around! Plus, keep in mind that studying with others can be fun, or at the very least give you something to look forward to each day.
The best way to study is often not by reading your material word-for-word. Many students find it helpful to take notes, draw pictures, write explanations – anything they can do to help the information stick! For example, if you were tasked with writing down everything there is to know about auto insurance coverage policies and premium rates, consider jotting down bullet points about what is covered under each policy vs. what is not covered. Considering examples of different kinds of autos could also be useful; like whether or not a vintage car would be considered “collectible” or not, because it could mean a different kind of coverage rate based on the insured’s intentions if they intend to use the car for personal use vs. for exhibition purposes.
In addition to taking notes and creating diagrams, try writing your own lecture about a topic that a professor just finished talking about in class. This can be a great way to test yourself – did you actually understand what was going on? If not, see if you can explain things in your own words. Learning by teaching helps reinforce information beyond mere rote memorization! Some students like to record themselves explaining their course material (or watching someone else do so). Listening over and over again will help make sure that when it comes time for exams, you know exactly what the professor is going on about. Plus, this can be a great tool for studying when you don’t have a teacher standing in front of you!
An online group study is a great way to learn, as long as the whole group pulls their weight and everyone feels comfortable contributing. Research different learning strategies online to find what works best for you – it might be drawing diagrams or organizing material in a certain way that helps you grasp the subject matter better. If your lectures are recorded, consider watching them over to help reinforce what you’ve been studying, so you’ll have a better handle on how the information will be tested when exam time comes around. Most importantly, take practice tests online.