Study Tips for Upcoming Exams

3 min read All students study differently, but following the advice of prestigious colleges around the US may produce the highest test scores.

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Photo Credit: (Green Chameleon) Radford University also offers resources like the Harvey Knowledge Center to help students study and prepare for exams.

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By Kylee Walling | kewalling@radford.edu

As exams near, my best advice is to study hard every day, take breaks, and work with peers to ace the final weeks of the semester and all the exams coming up.

I suffer from significant test anxiety. One method that helps me reduce stress before exams are to follow the tips from prestigious colleges around the US. I figure if the smartest kids from the highest-ranking colleges around the US are using these tips and passing exams, then there is no way I could fail.

All students approach studying differently. However, according to Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Stanford University, the most-effective study tips for students may be taking notes, studying in sessions, and studying with peers overall.

According to Harvard University, jotting notes down and continuously studying is one of the best strategies students can attempt to pass exams each semester.

Students are also encouraged to quiz themselves, work with peer groups, read or talk aloud, and imagine how exam questions may look.

Students are also encouraged to quiz themselves, work with peer groups, read or talk aloud, and imagine how exam questions may look.

According to MIT, approaching material in different ways, and combining various study materials is one of the top strategies for studying effectively.

According to their website, it is also valuable to study in shorter sessions of time, take planned breaks, avoid phones and social media even when on breaks, and stay active.

According to Stanford University, reviewing notes and practice problems increases the chances of passing end-of-term exams.

Stanford’s website also suggests that analyzing past exams, prioritizing study time for weak subjects, and practice tests help students succeed with their exams.

Peer studying
Photo Credit: (Marvin Meyer) All students approach studying differently.

Radford University models many of these tips and more. Radford provides study tips on their website and a “count down” strategy leading up to test day for students to follow.

The countdown states that on day five, students should organize their notes, prepare lists, and focus attention appropriately. On day four, students should review notes, recall information, and concentrate on difficult classes first.

On day three, students should rewrite notes and other important information from the professor. On day two, students are encouraged to list hypothetical exam questions and answer them.

And finally, on the day of the exam, students should review notes a few hours before the exam and relax right before the exam.

Radford University also offers resources like the Harvey Knowledge Center to help students study and prepare for exams.

Many of the strategies listed on Radford’s Website, as well as the other colleges mentioned, seem to overlap significantly.

Many of the strategies listed on Radford’s Website, as well as the other colleges mentioned, seem to overlap significantly.

These tips also correlate with the information provided by the American Psychological Association. They suggest spacing out study sessions, interweaving subjects, testing one’s knowledge, and re-learning information repeatedly to produce the best exam scores.

Even more of these tips reappear in an article by The Princeton Review. The top three study tips on their website are to get informed, think like a teacher, and making personal study aids (flashcards, homework, etc.).

In my experience, staying healthy, eating right, and avoiding extreme stress is also encouraged for students, especially those with test anxiety.

If you have ever been through an AP course or sat through an SAT, you might be familiar with “exam pouches.” At least, that’s what I call them. These pouches or bags are self-prepared with pencils appropriate for an exam, pens, extra erasers, and snacks (if allowed in the testing site). Students might consider preparing these items to ease test anxiety and be comfortable during exam times.

Preparing in advance will help students produce the best results during the testing week. Starting to prepare for exams now could reduce stress significantly.

Kylee Walling