Prepping for Tests

Preparing for exams should involve a purposeful effort on your part to learn the course material and to prepare for the specific kind of exam you will face.  You cannot rely on simply looking over your notes or trying to memorize pieces of information.

Follow the tips on this page for an overview of making long-term plans.  Then follow the links to the right for more detailed information.

Prepare for Exams Continuously Throughout the Semester

The most effective strategy for preparing for exams is distributive review throughout the semester. By actively reviewing new material throughout the semester, you will store it in your long-term memory, which will give you a strong base from which to begin your final preparation for the exam.

Final Preparation for the Exam

Your first step is to set a study schedule and establish an objective for each study period. The most effective way to study for exams is to organize the material within the framework of the subject. You will find it easier to remember the material if tied to larger concepts.  This will also make it easier to anticipate questions that will be asked on the exam.  Finally, active practice of test taking is essential. You can also learn from previous exams as part of your preparation.  

Taking the Exam

On the day of the exam, eat healthy meals, do something to relax before the exam, avoid studying for the hour before the exam, and avoid distractions from fellow students.
When you get the exam, read all directions thoroughly and then quickly preview the entire test before starting. Are there sections of the exam weighted more heavily? Do the questions get progressively more difficult? If there is a difference between sections, set a rough time schedule for each section. Plan time to review your answers and change answers if appropriate.

Overcoming Test Anxiety

Every UM student experiences some anxiety in the face of preparing for and taking exams. It is a normal response to any performance related activity. If you find that anxiety is hindering your performance on exams, there are a number of steps you can take to help alleviate your difficulties. The key strategies for overcoming exam anxiety are preparing, analyzing, and relaxing.  For details on these strategies follow the link to the right. 

Preparing Throughout the Semester

Final Preparation

Taking the Exam

Overcoming Exam Anxiety

Prepping for Tests (PDF)