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Key Elements Necessary To Prepare For An Exam

  • Know what the exam will cover.
  • Know the type of exam that you will be given: Essay or Objective (T/F, Multiple Choice, Matching). If you know the type of exam, you will know how to prepare for it.
  • Avoid procrastination. Cramming doesn't work because the information that you "cram" remains in short-term memory storage. Most people can only retain 7 plus or minus 2 bits of information in short-term storage, less when under stress.
  • Utilize memory techniques to move information from short-term memory into long-term memory while you prepare for an exam. Once information is in long term memory, it is permanently stored. The best way to do this is to make information meaningful.
  • Make sure that there are no gaps between your and the professor's thinking.
  • Make sure that you have taken adequate notes during class. Mark possible exam questions in each day's notes along with the answers.
  • Have the proper attitude.
  • Use exam preparation strategies, tools and techniques.
  • Don't be afraid to ask the professor or teacher assistant questions. Don't wait until its too late.
  • Start to prepare for the examination early. A half-hour review each day is more effective than five hours at once. You will need to plan these sessions and set reasonable goals.
  • Professors often have practice tests or old exams on file or in the library. This is a great way to test yourself as well as providing a guideline for what you can expect.
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