PRE-Exam PREparation: How to Effectively Prepare for a Big Test

Are your finals just around the corner? Are you bombarded with exams by multiple teachers this coming Friday? Or are you just hoping to find ways to get better at studying for exams? Either way, you have come to the right place to seek for advice.

Exams are utilized by schools to test the level of understanding and mastery of certain topics of each of their individual students. They are not there just to be a hindrance for students who just want to lay back and not study. With that being said, there are ways on which you can become better ate exams.

However, since every person is unique in their own way, the effectiveness of these tips can differ from person to person. It all depends on whatever works for you and how much time you are willing to give to follow these tips. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your examinations:

Secure a clean and organized workspace

Have you been studying for your examinations in a disorderly and messy place? Ever noticed how it can be difficult to focus with all of those random things scattered atop your study table?

A messy workplace and study environment can cause unnecessary distractions and prevent you from reaching your full potential when studying. Try to at least organize the things in your study table such that those objects which are often used such as pencils, erasers, rulers, and textbooks are easily accessible and can easily be found. Keep unnecessary or irrelevant objects away from your table to prevent distractions and excess cluttering on your study table.

Not only will keeping a clean and organized workspace keep your parents happy, it also enables you to focus more on what you are studying and prevent your train of thought from leaving you. It is a simple method and only takes up a little of your time, but will be able to boost your ability to prepare for your exams.

Avoid distractions

Just as we have pointed out in the first tip, distractions are never good whenever you study or prepare for your exams. It hinders your ability to stay focused for longer and can sometimes lead to irritation and a loss of motivation to study.

Keep things that distract you away from your workplace. These things include your mobile phones, games, personal computers, noisy objects, and other objects which may cause distractions for you. Never take these objects for granted as they may surprise you with unnecessary sounds or alarms whenever you are deep in thought trying to prepare for your exams.

Know your priorities

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When taking exams, it may be wise to determine which subjects are more important than others and which subjects you find more difficult than others. By doing so you can have a clear idea of what subject you should prioritize and which ones you can allot less time.

By giving more time and prioritizing certain subjects which may be more important than others or subjects you have difficulty with, you can be prepared for these subjects much better than if you divided your time evenly amongst all of your subjects. You can then start to understand the subject better as you have more time to familiarize and understand the topics within those subjects helping you to become better at the said subject.

However, you should still allot time to studying other subjects which you find easy as having too much confidence can only lead to bad endings. You should still give time to study those subjects you have ruled out as “not so important” because they are still included in your curriculum and will somehow help you when you leave school and go into the real world.

Avoid cramming

As much as you can, refrain from procrastination to avoid cramming. It may seem natural to see students vigorously studying the night before the exams, however, it would be much wiser to stray from the norm and start studying every day a week before the exams. This is due to the fact that consistent and repetitive studying of topics and lessons is more likely to become part of your long-term memory and thus will be easier to access and will remain useful even after the exams are over.

The adrenaline boost given by cramming may help other students to study for their exams the next day, but these topics only get stored in short term memory and will most likely be forgotten by the students a few after studying it. However, if you choose to study a week before your exams, not only will you have more time to cover more subjects, what you have studied will also be a lot easier to remember due to the number of repetitions you did studying the topics.

Use previous tests as reference

What better way to brief you of your upcoming exams than by doing mock exams yourself? Use old test either from when you had short quizzes or from exams which occurred years earlier as reference for what topics may arise during your upcoming tests. It would also be advisable to give yourself a time limit when answering these mock exams to get yourself briefed for the pressure of having to finish a 50-question exam within an hour.

By replicating the conditions of a real exam, you essentially train your mind and body to get used to the stressful atmosphere of the exam hall, thus giving you an advantage over your fear-struck classmates. Plus, if you get used to the atmosphere of the exam hall, then you will be able to have better judgement and make rational decisions when answering exam questions and you can retrieve memory from your brain memory archive more efficiently than if you were panicking.

Take a breather break

After a long session of studying, how about you take it easy and have a break? After all, you deserve it for putting so much effort to prepare for your exams. Taking a 10-minute break every hour can go a long way to keep you energized and help you retain your focus.

A quick breather enables your muscles and brain to relax and relieve any sort of discomfort you have after sitting for too long. Not to mention that jus by taking a quick break, you resupply yourself with energy to be used for the next session of studying or other activities you might have planned. Taking a break also boosts morale as you can do essentially whatever you want during your 10-minute break which is always something to look forward to when studying.

Fuel your brain

During your break, you can feed on some brain healthy food to resupply your brain with the calories it lost after working so hard. Foods such as berries and other fruits to keep a constant stream of vitamins, oily fish and nuts to supply your brain with Omega 3 fatty acids, and everyone’s favorite sweet: chocolate (but it would be preferable if you chose the dark kind).

However, if you feel that these foods are bad for your diet and you might gain weight, then fear not, for the brain uses up to 20% of the body’s daily calorie intake. You could just be sitting there while studying, and still burn 20% of what you consume; it’s a win-win for everyone. Eating food while studying or preparing for exam also helps you relax as the human body reflexively loosens up whenever you have a meal due to an evolutionary trait of never eating while the surrounding is still dangerous.

Keep hydrated

After a hearty snack for your brain, you should accompany this by drinking a glass of water. Keeping yourself hydrated will help you stay alert and focused and prevent you from the dreaded “getting sick during exam day because I studied too hard” phenomenon.

Always remember that your health comes first, and one of the ways to remain healthy is to drink adequate amounts of water every day. A dehydrated person will have trouble keeping focus and alert which is a big no if you are preparing for your exams. Have a bottle of water close to you so that when you feel thirsty, you can rehydrate yourself without having to stand up and cut your studying.

Discuss the topics aloud

A good way to help ingrain the topics you have studied for your exam is to discuss them out loud with either yourself or a friend who you study with. By doing so, you essentially try to recall whatever it is that you studied in real time without the aid of context or clues spread out on exam questions. This helps you truly understand and absorb the topic which you have studied.

It also pays to take a break from having to constantly intake and absorb knowledge through reading or answering and try to produce an output via discussion to truly see if you have mastered the topic you studied. This also briefs your brain to the retrieval of information which you will do all throughout your exams.

Sleep properly

A good night’s rest can leave a huge difference in your performance during exams. It could give you a fresh mind to work with during the day of the examination while a night of cramming and sleeplessness can often lead to a tired and worn-down brain which may have trouble retrieving memory. A well-rested brain is a brain which can function properly and efficiently.

Sleeping is also shown to improve memory retrieval of topics which you have learned just before sleeping, and if you have been sleeping properly for the whole week before an exam, you can expect to have even better memory retrieval than when you take supplements.

Hire a home tutor

If you already been studying hard for previous exams and still have trouble overcoming them, then it may be time to ask help from a home tutor. A home tutor skilled and highly qualified home tutor can help you with any topic you may have trouble with and will guide you to become better at that topic as well. We at FamilyTutor offer thousands of these highly skilled and qualified tutors to suit your needs, whether it be for your exams or just for everyday classes, we have you covered.

FamilyTutor is one of the best home tuition agency in Singapore with thousands of home tutors who can cater to the tutoring of pre-school up to university level students. We certify that our tutors are highly qualified and adept to teach a variety of subjects at a very affordable price. If you ever find yourself in a bind when preparing for exams, then FamilyTutor is the perfect home tutoring agency to go to.  

Early morning skimming

After a week of preparing for your exams, you should rise up early in the morning to avoid being late and also to have enough time for a brief skimming of your notes. By doing so, it will become easier to recall the topics and subjects you have studied the past week.

An early morning skim also fires up neurons to be more active and thus prevent a “laggy” brain during exams. It is also never a bad idea to do a light review before the exam as this will raise the chances of you to not forget important topics during the exam.

Trust in yourself

The last thing to do to become fully prepared for your exams is to believe in yourself. After a whole week of studying and preparation, you can expect to see good results in your results. You did everything you could, and now it is time to ease up and trust in your abilities and face the exam with your chest held high.

Final Thoughts

So, these are only some of the ways students can prepare themselves for their coming exams. It’s always a good idea to always be prepared. We hope this helps students in their exams and help them achieve their expected scores and grades. Good luck!



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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