This is the time of year when students remember that they really didn’t understand that Chemistry unit in November, or that they’re missing those notes on the Cold War, or that they can’t remember who killed who in Hamlet. It’s also the time that they have the opportunity to show what they can do. If your children are beginning to prepare for exams, these steps will help them stay on track.
Step 1: Find out what you already know
Gather notes, assignments, unit tests, and quizzes and get them in order. This step can be a bit disheartening if you have lost material or fallen behind. Rather than getting discouraged, focus on what you do have. You can group notes by unit, number the pages, and make a table of contents for each course. Alternatively (and only if you have time), you may decide to make a set of study notes by summarizing and rephrasing your coursework.
Step 2: Find out what’s on the test
Preparing for an unknown challenge is significantly harder than tackling a task you understand. Speak to your teachers and find out everything you can about each exam. Many teachers will develop review packages, and these will help you keep your studying focused.
Step 3: Find out what you don’t know and fill in the blanks
Compare your organized notes to the information provided by your teacher, and figure out what’s missing! Fill in the blanks with the help of your textbook, your friends, and any other resources you have access to. This will likely be time consuming, so…
Step 4: Make a study schedule and follow it!
Without a schedule, it’s almost impossible to keep from getting overwhelmed. Google Calendar is an excellent option. Think about how much time you will need to review and mark realistic mini-deadlines on your calendar as well as the dates of the exams themselves. Decide how much time you will spend studying each day, and write down goals for each session. Follow your schedule as best you can! If you miss deadlines, change your calendar and make a new plan.
Step 5: Ask for help
There will likely be some blanks in your study notes that you can’t fill in independently. It’s time to ask for help! Set up an appointment with your teacher, ask your classmates, or book a session at RRLS.
Step 6: Leave time for review
Make sure to leave as much time as possible in your study schedule to review your notes. Now is a great time to study with a friend! Make your own list of imaginary exam questions and take turns quizzing each other.
Step 7: Prepare your whole self
Knowing the material doesn’t guarantee that you’ll do well on an exam. It’s important to get a good night’s sleep, eat a nutritious breakfast, and develop strategies to manage your anxiety. Feeling nervous is natural! Trust your preparation, take a deep breath, and open that exam booklet. You can do it!
For more information about strategies to manage exam preparation, please contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit http://www.ruthrumack.com.