Is your exam only a week away? Don’t worry, we have got you covered. As an extension of the post “The Best Ways to Prepare for Final Exams“, we are here to give a step-by-step guide on how to study for exams in a week as suggested by one of our readers.
In fact, how to study for exams in a week really depends on the progress you have made in the previous days. You can definitely imagine how two person studies differently if one have read through the entire textbook already during the semester, and the other has barely opened the textbook! Anyways, if you are really lost as to how you should study a week before an exam, here is a rough guide.
I have also made a free checklist that would guide you to study for exams in 7 days – make sure to download it!
List out all your topics, and highlight those you are least familiar with. I also love listing out the resources/materials I have to study. Here is an example of mine:
If you have already gone through most of the things (i.e. you actually attended and paid attention during class, or have covered the reading materials), you shouldn’t be too worried. However, if you haven’t done so, you should definitely start to tackle the things you are not familiar with now.
That is, you should start reading and annotating the materials you are unfamiliar with.
If you have not started making notes at all, it wouldn’t be wise to start making notes now. You would spend way too much time on copying things (except if the way you memorize things is by copying). Instead, try to annotate things, write down explanations next to the things that you don’t understand, or definitions that you think can be elaborated.
Remember to be exam-oriented. Don’t spend time on things that are very trivial, or things that won’t be covered in the exam anyways. You can differentiate this by reviewing your lecture/class notes to see whether your teachers have covered it, or going to the summary part of the textbook (which usually have everything important there).
At this stage, you should be focusing on annotating and enhancing your understanding of the materials.
This is the day you have to finalize everything. You should make sure you have most of your notes ready and that you have digested everything. The ideal situation is that you should have gone through everything once.
If you haven’t done a summary card, you should probably do it at this stage. This is a great way to consolidate your information.
- Get a bunch of index cards. Write out the title of each chapter on each card.
- Write the outline of the chapter. Alternatively, you can make a question attack plan for each chapter.
- Turn over and write down some key terms that you don’t know. Or, you can write down some common mistakes, formulas etc, depending on your subject.
With 4 days left, you should start memorizing things now. Again, start with the chapter you are the least familiar with. Let’s say in the past three days you read in the order from the last chapter to the first, you should then start memorizing things from the last chapter again. Focus on spellings and key terms. By memorizing, you can do the following:
- Read the notes out loud, and repeat them by not looking at the paper (this is the way I personally use!)
- Try to memorize, and cover the sheet and rewrite everything
- Teach yourself, or to an audio recorder, or to a friend
- Draw a mindmap without looking at your notes.
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You may need to continue memorizing now, but at the same time, you should go for some practice questions by chapter. You may also try to complete the exercises at the back of the chapter in your textbook. Doing practice question is a great way to refresh your knowledge. It is also great for checking what you have not studied, or what you are unfamiliar with, as well as what you have misunderstood.
Don’t just do the practice question and throw them away. Make full use of it:
- Check the answer. Find out what you failed to get right and failed to write down on the answer paper.
- Understand your mistake. Understand why you make the mistake, and how you can avoid it.
- Take notes of your misunderstanding and mistakes (as well as the correct answers). This will help you to avoid making the same ones.
Repeat what you have done on day 3. Make sure that you have completed the practice questions for all of your topics. Some teachers may also offer some mock papers or practice papers, or you may also try to complete past papers here. While you have done the questions for each chapter yesterday, you can now start to do questions and papers that cover all the topics that will be examined. Again, make notes of your mistakes, and immediately review anything that you are unfamiliar with.
You should do your very last review here. You should make sure you read through the following this day:
- Your summary cards
- Your notes
- The notes you have made while doing the practice questions and papers
- If your exam involves some formulas or difficult keywords or definitions, you may need to memorize them again this day.
Now that’s everything. With all the preparation above, you should be very confident since you have got everything covered! All you have to do is to take a good breakfast and focus during the exam! Good luck!
I hope this post gives you an idea on how to study for exams in a week! Remember to grab your free checklist!
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