The best time to prepare for an exam is not when the exam time table is out but from the very first day lectures or classes begin. I have been through the academic institutions from nursery to doctorate degree and have a fair bit of experience in the academic field, so much so I feel I have had enough for one life time.
Along the way I have devised some learning skills and methods that have helped me in the classroom to pass exams and I would like to share some with you, perhaps they would be of help to you. Reading isn’t what I love doing, especially if it’s academic, but I’ll do all it takes to pass an exams legally even if it means reading through the night.
Proverbs 2:6 – For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Waiting for the last 2 weeks to prepare would mount pressure on your and you’ll have a lot to cover in a short space of time. You probably have sleepless nights, drinking a lot of coffee to stay awake at night with you feet in a bucket of water. Plan ahead, have a personal study time table with time to socialize and you’ll never be caught off guard.
Listen attentively and jot down points
In my opinion this is the most important. You can save hours of reading by paying attention in class and taking notes. That way, you can identifying the areas the lecturer / teacher lays emphasis on which would be a good indication of possible areas that would be examined. Also ones a point is grasped in class you can readily recall it.
Take good notes
Invest in buying quality notebooks, preferably hard back to take notes. Write in them as neatly as you can, as you are more likely to be interested in reading a well written note. Use different colored pens to highlight different areas and underline important sections. This way you can easily identify these points when revising and refer to them easily.
Catch up as soon as possible
If you could not attend a class, make sure you find out what was taught and the notes given. If left for too long you may forget and the backlog begins to pile up
Participate in group study when you can
Studying in group has its advantages and disadvantages, but I believe the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. In groups your can brain storm, exchange ideas and see issues from different perspectives. Each member of the group should be willing to contribute knowledge and not only acquire knowledge. I believe the key to having a successful study group is to carefully choose the members of the group.
There have been instances where some members joined groups just to find out what others knew and not contribute to the betterment of the group. Some join groups to prove their superiority and intimidate others and some mislead others in a bid to having advantage in exams. Be wise.
Know and believe in yourself
Deuteronomy 28:13 – And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them.
Everyone is unique and have different rates of assimilation. It may take you 2 days to understand what it may take another person 10 seconds to grasp. By knowing yourself you can device ways to quicken your rate of assimilation and plan your time properly.
I did not like art subjects like history, economics, literature etc. because a lot of reading was involved and you need to memorize dates, events, quotations etc. I had to find a way around this to pass these subjects until they become optional.
I devised various mnemonics, acronyms etc. to remember events and points etc. Know yourself, your weakness and devise ways to overcome them. Believe you can understand. Never give up of profess negatively. You have an excellent spirit.
Practice makes perfect
I love the sciences especially math because you just need to know the principle, formulae or equations and you can solve lots of problems. For sciences subjects, do a lot of worked examples and understand each step. In written exams, show your workings as they would fetch you marks even if you get the final answers wrong. If possible get past questions papers and work though them. This applies to other subjects as well.
Do not withhold knowledge or understanding – don’t be a graveyard. The more you share and teach others the better understanding you get. I have been privileged to organize tutorials for my classmates, the more I explained to others, the better I became. By being able to teach others, my understanding increased. I found out that I never forgot the points I was able to pass across successfully.
Access your progress
After every test or exam, access your work when you get your results. Approach the teacher for solutions to areas you do not understand. Do not hesitate to ask a classmate who understands better to put you through.
Don’t use God’s time
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
This is a No! No! No! In many occasions students skip church, fellowship meetings and become less involved in their commitments to the church or the things of God when exams are near. In my opinion, this is the time your commitment should be on the increase if you’ve planned your time properly. At that stage, you should have read what you need to read and then trust the Holy spirit to bring to remembrance all you have read.
If you read nothing, the Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance nothing – praying and fasting is not the silver bullet to passing exams – you need to put in the effort to study and learn.
These have worked for me and have helped me. Do not hesitate to share your experience and what has worked for you so others can benefit as well. All the best in your studies.