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  • Studying for an exam is different from studying to learn, you need to be strategic because

  • it's all about getting the best grade possible.

  • So whether you're cramming for an exam tomorrow or studying for one in a few months' time,

  • here is the 6 step strategy you should follow for your best chance of success.

  • The first step to hacking your exam prep is being clear about what's on the exam.

  • This might be obvious, but doing this really well will help you be laser focused in the

  • next 5 steps.

  • If you can, confirm three things: • What topics and areas you might be tested

  • on; • What types of questions there will be;

  • And how much each section of the exam is worth.

  • You won't always know this information, but get as many details as possible from your

  • teacher or lecturer.

  • Check the course outline or objectives, but make sure you attend the final class or lecture

  • before an exam, because that's often where they'll share more details or advice.

  • There are 3 general types of exams and you prepare differently for each of them.

  • If you don't get this right, you'll crash and burn for sure.

  • The 3 types are memorization; understanding concepts; and problem solving.

  • If you're short on time, you might be tempted to prepare for a problem solving exam by memorizing

  • things.

  • That would be a mistake.

  • Subjects that typically need a lot of memorization include history, languages and parts of some

  • science classes like biology and anatomy.

  • Memorization is all about building connections.

  • Using only repetition to try and remember things, doesn't create connections and that's

  • why it doesn't work very well.

  • You can click the link on the screen to learn the 5 principles of super-effective memorization

  • techniques, and jump ahead of 99% of other students.

  • Social science subjects and a lot of others, have exams based mainly on understanding concepts.

  • It's important to have a big picture perspective, and understand how all the smaller pieces

  • of the puzzle fit together.

  • Take the information from your lectures, textbook and extra reading material, and organize it

  • according to the major themes and concepts.

  • It's easiest to do visually, so use mind-maps, flow charts and diagrams to create your overall

  • perspective, and show the links between details, concepts and the overall subject.

  • Typical exam questions ask you to evaluate, compare and apply the concepts, so practice

  • doing that and try to use concrete examples to explain answers.

  • The third type of exam is problem solving, which is common for engineering, commerce

  • and science courses.

  • The key to these exams is doing a lot of problems.

  • But try doing a problem first before reading the theory behind it.

  • Remember, you'll get most exam marks for doing problems, not knowing the theory, so

  • that sets your study priorities.

  • Instead of reading a chapter in detail and then trying the problems, flip it around.

  • Give the chapter a brief skim, but start on the problems, and only go back to read the

  • theory when you hit a roadblock.

  • That way, you'll get the problem done and know the theory.

  • You also need to know the type of questions in your exam, because you'll prepare differently

  • for each of them.

  • The most common question types are multiple choice, essays, problems and short answers.

  • Which of those will be included on your exam?

  • There are 3 types of multiple choice questions.

  • They can test your straight recall of facts, your comprehension of how facts relate to

  • concepts, or how you apply your knowledge and understanding.

  • Don't waste time and effort by preparing for the wrong type of multiple choice question.

  • Next is essay questions.

  • Look at the major topics and themes in your course.

  • Which ones were repeated or given emphasis?

  • Make your own potential exam questions to practice answering.

  • Start by creating detailed outlines for each answer, and then if you have time you can

  • practice writing out the complete essay as well.

  • For more step-by-step details on essay preparation, click the link on the screen and you can grab

  • a free download.

  • The third type of question is problems, and I've already recommended doing as many practice

  • problems as you can.

  • It's really important to understand what the question requires you to do, so try and

  • translate the problem into your own words, or draw an illustration or diagram to help

  • you picture the problem in your head.

  • Develop a system to approach these types of questions, and record all the formulas you

  • use too, because you'll need to know them for the exam.

  • The final type of question is short answer questions, and you might need to give anything

  • from a sentence to a paragraph answer.

  • Prepare by memorizing important terms and definitions, and by using mind maps to relate

  • each term back to the overall concepts of the subject, and connect any supporting evidence.

  • The first three steps were really preparation for this step, because it's the most powerful.

  • If you haven't heard of the 80/20 rule or Pareto's Principle, it's all about prioritization

  • or bang-for-your-buck.

  • The 80/20 rule says that generally speaking, 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent

  • of your efforts.

  • If you think about your last assignment, you probably did 80% of that assignment in 20%

  • of the total time you spent working on it.

  • And if you're like the average student, it was probably the 20% of time right before

  • your deadline.

  • So how will this apply to studying for your exam?

  • 80% of your exam marks will come from 20% of your study efforts.

  • Don't get hung up on the numbers, they won't always hold exactly true, it's more about

  • the concept.

  • Identify what's going to give you the biggest bang for buck.

  • Will some topics have more emphasis in the exam than others?

  • Which section of the exam is worth the most?

  • Will preparing for one type of question also help you prepare for another type of question

  • as well?

  • If there are hot spots that cover all three, that's your starting point.

  • If you're cramming the night before, this might be all you can achieve, but if you have

  • more time, you'll focus on more topics and areas.

  • This is just a simple example, but you get the idea.

  • Be strategic and focus on what's going to give you the highest grade possible.

  • Once you've made this plan, it's time for action.

  • Ok, now it's dress rehearsal time.

  • The absolute best way to do well at answering questions in your exam, is to practice answering

  • exam questions now.

  • Get practice questions from your textbook, class examples or assignments, but if you

  • can, the most valuable is practice exams or old exam papers.

  • Try practice questions first and only refer back to your textbook or class material when

  • you get stuck.

  • Doing it this way reviews everything you know, highlights areas where you need to improve,

  • and you'll probably learn as you go as well.

  • Remember, if you study by only re-reading your notes and textbook, that will only make

  • you better at reading.

  • Unfortunately you're going to be examined on how well you answer questions.

  • So that is what you need to practice doing.

  • Exams are stressful, and stress does crazy things to your head.

  • Knowledge you thought you had is going to disappear like a magic trick.

  • Something you could recall the night before might not be as secure in your mind as you

  • thought.

  • One solution is overlearning, or learning beyond the point of being able to recall a

  • piece of information.

  • Instead, you should keep reviewing it for even longer.

  • Why?

  • Because overlearning like this strengthens your learning and improves how fast and easily

  • you're able to recall information.

  • And that's what you want in your exam!

  • Overlearning also increases your confidence in what you can remember, and when you're

  • more confident you'll be less anxious as well.

  • If you're cramming for an exam, first use the 80/20 rule to confirm the absolutely most

  • important areas to study.

  • Then focus on overlearning them.

  • That might be only the 3 or 4 primary concepts of the subject, and for the types of questions

  • that have the greatest weight in the exam.

  • Once you've achieved that, if you still have more time available, then you can begin

  • looking at other topics or concepts or types of questions as well.

  • That's called being strategic.

  • If you'd like more step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for different types of exam

  • questions, or how to memorize more effectively, click the link on the screen and head over

  • to the Memorize Academy website.

Studying for an exam is different from studying to learn, you need to be strategic because

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How to Study for Exams - Top 6 Steps for Strategic Exam Preparation Like a Genius

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    Yi Jie posted on 2019/01/06
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