The counseling department put together a document to help boys prepare for their exams. It will also be the topic of discussion in tomorrow's 8th grade mentoring sessions after Chapel.
Here is one teacher’s response to the question: “If you were a student who was about to take your exam, how would you prepare?”
“In August, I would begin by doing my homework carefully and studying, in addition, for five minutes nightly. I would take notes in class every day and go over and amplify these each night. I would study for tests every night, proofread all work, ask questions in class about anything I didn’t understand, and ask the teacher for extra help on any of my deficiencies. I would restudy all material before each test and review each graded test, searching for ellipses in my grasp of the material. I would regularly test myself by seeing whether I could put into words my understanding. I would care whether I learned. I would do all this through September, October, November, and December, until the day before the exam, when I would rest.”
While it’s an exaggeration, it shows how important constant preparation can be. Here are some words of advice about studying for exams from students and other faculty members here at MUS.
- Get everything organized before you try to start studying. Make sure you have all the notes. Put quizzes and tests in chronological order.
- Prepare for exams over a few days; don’t try to cram the entire semester into one night. You don’t necessarily have to memorize all the material; it’s a good idea just to read through the notes thirty minutes a night the week before the exam.
- Make a schedule of your studying. This is especially important for studying over the weekend. Time is precious during exam week; make the best use of it all week long.
- It is an excellent idea to focus on a particular grade you need on the final exam. Find out what your grades are for the quarters. Then decide a reasonable grade you want to get for the semester. Calculate the grade you need on the exam in order to achieve the desired semester grade.
- Identify early the things that you do not know. Do not waste time studying the material that you understand. While your mind is still fresh, use the first few hours of your studying for reviewing the harder topics.
- Make master lists of all the terms you need to know. Include names, dates, places, definitions, or anything. On a single piece of paper, write only the word or terms; do not rewrite the definitions of the terms. Use this piece of paper to quiz yourself with the notebook closed. Put marks next to the terms you don’t know; look up these terms after going through the sheet.
- Do not rely totally on the old tests. Study everything you have covered during the semester, especially the things covered during class. Just because your teacher did not put it on a test does not mean that the material is not important.
- For math and sciences, don’t just look at problems from old tests; rework them! Pick up your pencil and try a few of them to make sure you still remember how to work the problems. Just because you got the answer back in September does not mean you will answer it correctly months later. Also, work some problems in your textbook including some you worked during the semester and maybe some problems that you didn’t.
- When studying vocabulary for English or a language class, spread it out over a week. Don’t try to learn a semester’s worth of vocabulary at one sitting.
- When studying, write out some answers to questions that you make up. Writing is the skill you will have to perform on the exam itself, so you might as well practice it. It is one thing to know an answer in your head; it’s another to be able to express it on paper to a teacher.
- Get a good night’s rest.
- Don’t plan on studying the morning before the exam. This time can be set aside to review a few things, but don’t ever try to use this time to learn something you previously have not studied. You never know when you are going to sleep through your alarm. Maybe, that stuff you saved til the last second may be too much for you to learn in the morning. You will be able to recall information better if you have slept on it.
- Wear comfortable (dress code acceptable) clothes to the exam.
- Eat a good breakfast, but not so big that it will make you tired.