Being prepared and feeling fully confident is a major key to successfully passing your licensing, or other, examination. Feeling uneasy or that there was more you could have (or should have) done to prepare can distract from your concentration, and potentially lead to failing.
Use these tips to help set up a study plan in preparing for your examination.
One: Be Prepared
Know the specifics, such as: the location of the exam center, the number of questions and how much time you’ll get to complete the exam, and what materials you are allowed to bring. Knowing the logistics will reduce the chance that a simple, but significant, mistake is made.
Two: Set Aside Time
Determine how you will fit in your study time and make sure it is a priority. You schedule meetings, lunches and classes, right? Scheduling your study time is just as important. It is even more important to set these schedules and expectations with your friends and family. Be sure to keep others in the loop on your progress and success, and they should be able to understand your need for uninterrupted study time. A series of shorter study sessions disrupted over several days is preferable to longer, but fewer study sessions.
Three: Don’t Try to Cram it in
Select a reasonable chunk of material to study. Make a list of topics that are likely to be on the exam and prioritize these subjects based on how important they are and how much more you need to learn about them. Spend the majority of your time familiarizing yourself with the subjects you are less confident about, and do it at the beginning of your study session, when you have more energy and are ready to dive in.
Four: Dress Uncomfortably and Sit at a Desk
If you dress comfortably and set up your study session on the couch, you are apt to lose focus, be interrupted and be less productive. Sit upright at a desk and avoid dressing casually so that you can remain awake and attentive.
Five: Study Buddies
When possible, it is a good idea to work with someone with whom you can review material, discuss potential questions and clarify concepts. Utilizing a study buddy can help to keep you focused and grasp information in a different perspective.
Six: Seek Support
Check with other students to get their perspectives on what information will be on the exam. Utilize a group setting where you can share study ideas and strategies. Verbalizing and writing the information is key to storing the material in your long-term memory.
Seven: Put it in Your Own Words
Don’t just memorize the information and move on. You should be able to explain the main idea in your own words. By putting it in a context that you understand, you will have an easier time recalling it than if you simply repeated a concept over and over without really connecting to it. Study buddies can be utilized here, explain in your words the concept and see if the concept is understood by other individuals. If you find people are able to receive your explanation well, then you are likely obtaining an understanding of a particular concept.
Eight: Test for the Test
Spend a lot of time with practice exams, if available. As a basic rule of thumb, test until you consistently obtain scores of 90% or better on every practice exam. For an added challenge, you can come up with study questions while you’re reviewing material you are not as comfortable with. This will force you to do some mental searching while you study. Studying this way helps to replicate the act that you’re preparing for in the first place, so it’s good idea to incorporate it into your study regimen.
Nine: No All-Nighters
Reviewing familiar material is a good way to prepare, but trying to learn something for the first time right before an exam is just going to stress you out and make it harder for you to focus on what you do know. When scheduling your exam, make sure you give yourself an adequate amount of time to study and feel prepared.
Ten: Be Physically Prepared
This may seem obvious, but it’s something we see some students struggle with. Make sure that you’ll have time to review your notes and get an adequate amount of sleep the night before your exam. Have a balanced breakfast, and avoid drinking too much coffee. Taking care of yourself physically will help ensure that your can focus on the matter at hand when you’ve got the exam in front of you.
Eleven: Try Chewing Gum
An informal study by a Cornell University marketing professor has shown that chewing gum offers improved memory and concentration which may improve your test-taking abilities.
Twelve: Don’t Be Over-Confident
While confidence is important, studies have shown that feeling too confident can lead to complacency. A little bit of anxiety can actually be helpful for test takers in keeping you focused. Instead of trying to completely shun anxiety, see it as a tool that can help you stay aware of what you’re doing and on the lookout for potential mistakes.
Do you have any other tips, not listed here, that have helped you in the past? Comment and share them.
Visit our past blogs for more testing tips and strategies.
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