1. Start Early
The best way to start preparing for a big exam is to get a head start on your review. If you have say a State Test or a Regents exam coming up, you should begin preparing a few months in advance, giving yourself plenty of time to go over each topic extensively in time for the actual test. One of the worst things to do is start cramming right before the test. Your brain will not be able to retain all the information you attempt to learn all at once. It is better to take the time to thoroughly understand each topic before moving on to the next one. Leave the last week or so before the exam to do a final review of everything.
2. Back to Basics
When doing your review, try not to start off with harder topics that you are not confident in. The best thing to do is to start from the beginning and build up your understanding of material so that as each topic becomes more complex, you can apply your knowledge to break down the material so that it makes sense. Remember, the reason textbooks are set up the way they are is because the material is cumulative, so each chapter leads into the next. Especially for math and science formula-based questions, it is important to be familiar with how to use certain formulas in order to solve problems. You cannot solve a multiplication problem if you do not first know how to add. Having a good base foundation makes it easier for you to advance to harder levels.
3. Set a Target
Along with going back to basics, you should set study goals for yourself. Give yourself set dates to complete your review of certain topics. You should be realistic when you do this: if you think one topic is a little tough for you to understand, give yourself more time to do a thorough review. Especially for math and science, constantly review concepts so that you don’t forget Creating a planner or schedule of sorts also keeps you on track with your review all the way up to the test date. Always leave yourself a little wiggle room so that you can go back for extra review if you feel that you aren’t as comfortable with a certain part of the material.
4. Reward yourself!
All this studying is tough work! Give yourself small rewards when you reach a target, or motivate yourself with treats in order to complete a task. You can also study in a fun way by setting up study groups with your friends. This is both fun and helpful because, along with having friends around, you can help each other out in your studies. If you feel confident about a certain topic, take it upon yourself to teach it to your friends. If you are uncertain about anything, ask a friend for help! Friends are always supportive, and you in turn can motivate them to do their best.
5. Final Review
Last but not least, do a final review right before your big test. This can take place the last week leading up to the test. Calmly go over every topic, and don’t panic if you’re having trouble with certain areas: that’s what this last week is for. Just go back to basics and review the material thoroughly again. Once you are done reviewing, make sure you are calm and collected before your exam. Get a good night’s sleep the night before the test, and eat a light but filling breakfast the day of. Remember, you got this, that’s what all your studying was for! Good luck scholars, go ace those exams, pun intended!
6. You got this!
At the time of the exam remember...all the hard work is done, have confidence in yourself and don't forget... You Got This!