There are several different types of exams. Talk to your instructor prior to your exam, so you can be well-prepared.
This information will help you prepare for your exams by offering helpful ideas for preparation and some general tips for writing different types of exams (multiple-choice, true/false, short answer). If you require exam accommodations, contact Accessibility Services.
10 Exam Preparation Study Tips
1. Give Yourself Enough Time to Study
Don't leave studying until the last minute. Ensure that you know the format, location, date, time, focus, and weighting of each test to help determine your emphasis for each course. Some exams need more study time than others so budget your time wisely.
2. Organize your Study Space
Choose good surroundings. Make sure you have enough space to spread out your textbooks and notes out. Do you have enough light? Is your chair comfortable? Make sure you get rid of any distractions (i.e. cell phones, computers, T.V., etc.) that may cause you to procrastinate getting started or may sabotage your time. This may necessitate leaving your house and finding an alternative study space.
3. Take Regular Breaks but Avoid Procrastination
Studies have shown that taking regular breaks really help for long-term retention of knowledge. Everyone is different, so develop a study routine that works for you. If you have trouble bringing yourself to study, chunk your work into 20-25 minute blocks, taking 5-10 minute breaks at the end of every block. You can vary this time to your comfort (i.e., 40-45 minute blocks with 15-20 minute breaks). Just keep a ratio of more work over break time. Also, take into consideration what time of day you study best. If you study best in the morning, start early and plan accordingly. If you’re more productive in the evening, get other chores done before you settle down to study. Remember to get a good night’s sleep.
4. Rewrite your Notes to Aid Memory
Use flow charts and diagrams. Visual aids are helpful when revising course material. At the start of a topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you know about the topic. Closer to your exam, condense your revision notes into one page diagrams or study sheets.
5. Pratice, Practice, Practice!
Practice old exams or use review questions from textbooks. Remember different subjects call for different studying. If it is math you’re studying for, work on problems. Don’t just read over it like you would for a history class. Practice retrieving information in a way the instructor expects (i.e. multiple choice, short answer, essay, problems, etc.) Practice recalling information without referring to your notes.
6. Explain your Answer to Others
Friends, roommates, parents, and other family members can help you around exam time! Try to explain a concept or an answer to a question to them in your own words.
7. Don't be Afraid to Ask for Help
Organize study groups with classmates. Get together for a study session to review any questions you may need to clarify.
8. Plan your Exam Day
Don’t leave things to the last minute before the exam to suddenly realize you don’t know where the exam room is, you don’t know the way, or what you are supposed to bring to the exam. Check all the rules and requirements and plan your route and journey time. void any last-minute conversations with classmates about exam material as this may add to any exam anxiety. Give yourself at least 5 to 10 minutes to gather your thoughts and relax before starting the exam.
9. Healthy Food, Healthy Brain
Keep away from junk-food. Keep your body and brain well fuelled by choosing nutritious foods. You may feel like you deserve a treat or that you don’t have time to cook, but what you eat can impact your concentration and energy level. This also applies on exam day(s). Some food may seem appealing, but they won’t help when your energy levels crash an hour or so later (i.e. sugar, caffeine). Some foods that have been
proven to aid concentration and memory are fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries.
10. Drink Plenty of Water
Remember that being hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your studying and on exam day.
"Exam Preparation: Ten Study Tips." Top Universities: Worldwide University Rankings, Guides & Events. N.p., 19 Feb 2008. Web. 2 Apr 2014.
"How to Study For Exams." wikiHow: to do anything. N.p.. Web. 2 Apr 2014. <http://www.wikihow.com/Study-For-Exams>.
Exam Writing Tips: Strategies for Success
Before the Exam
During the Exam
After the Exam
Multiple Choice Exams
Multiple choice exams are objective tests, since there is only one correct answer. To answer these types of questions, one needs to have accurate recall.
How to Prepare for Multiple Choice
Reading a Multiple Choice Exam
Answering Multiple Choice Questions
True / False Questions
Short Answer Questions
Many students feel anxious about writing exams. The good news is that help is available!
In addition to the tips and strategies listed below, there are also a variety of test anxiety workshops offered throughout the year, so watch for that. All workshops can be found on the workshops page.
If you feel you need more help, you may wish to connect with Counselling Services.
Signs and Symptoms of Test Anxiety
Physical: headaches, nausea, rapid heartbeat
Behavioral: fidgeting, pacing, avoidance, substance use, or abuse
Cognitive: going "blank", feelings of dread, difficulties concentrating
Emotional: fear of failure, disappointment, anger
How to Reduce Test Anxiety
1. Manage your time
3. Maintain a Positive Attitude
4. During the Exam
5. After the Exam
There are a variety of tools and apps that can assist you with exam preparation. We have tried and used some of them and others have come to our attention from faculty and students who have found them helpful.
Red Deer Polytechnic does not endorse the apps and sites listed here, and is not responsible for any technological problems that may arise from their use.
Red Deer Polytechnic recognizes that our campus is situated on Treaty 7 land, the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda peoples, and that the central Alberta region we serve falls under Treaty 6, traditional Métis, Cree and Saulteaux territory. We honour the First Peoples who have lived here since time immemorial, and we give thanks for the land where RDP sits. This is where we will strive to honour and transform our relationships with one another.