The Do’s and Don’ts of Exam Preparation

Exams can be a real pain to prepare for as there are as much ways to prepare for an exam as there are people in the planet. The lack of a basic guideline to follow is one of the factors why a lot of students have trouble preparing for an exam. To add even more complications, most guides you find out there on the internet are subjective and are greatly influenced by the techniques of the writer. 

Why it is important to know what to and not to do?

While it is difficult to find or formulate a study guide which can be effective for all individuals, we can narrow down a few do’s and don’ts when preparing for an exam. The do’s allow you to figure out what can be helpful to avoid distractions and improve your focus while studying, while the don’ts allow you to be aware of what might damage your studying.

The list below may be a bit vague for some of you, but it is meant to be that way as it will only serve as a guideline or a foundation of our own study routine. You can formulate an original study routine unique to yourself out of the dos and don’ts listed below. And no online exam preparation guide will fit you more perfectly than something you have come up with yourself which you have adjusted to fit our unique characteristics and traits.

The Don’ts

The don’ts of preparing for an exam are activities you should avoid as the can hinder our focus and be a nuisance while you study or prepare for an exam.

1. Study in your bed

As humans living in the comfort of the modern world, we are often used to the pleasures of a stable and technologically advanced world. One of these pleasures is having a bed of our own. And while it can sometimes be comfortable to read study materials in our bed, it just might be a bad idea for most.

We often associate our bed with sleep, and when you study or read review materials while lying on your bed; you might become drowsy and become tempted to take a nap. Sleeping well is important for both your physical and mental health, but sleeping earlier than what is scheduled and missing out on studying for a few minutes could lessen our chances of acing that exam.

2. Study late at night

The next don’t you should avoid is the complete opposite of the previous one. One should not doze off on their studying, but at the same time one should also not forsake the amount of sleep the get. Try to find a middle ground between those two and gain the right amount of sleep you need to keep your brain in tip top shape while also not limiting the amount of stud time you get.

Sleeping too little can often cause your brain to function poorly and in turn might affect the marks you get. Our brain needs sleep to help store our short-term memories into long term memories which can be really useful when you want to ace that exam. This is the reason why you should avoid sleeping late at night as much as you can when you are preparing for an exam.

3. Cram it all in one night

A lot of students often prefer to cram all of their studying into the night before the exam. However, you should know better and refrain from cramming as much as you can. It is almost impossible to cram all the lessons you had in one night and you would end up missing out on studying for topics which may come out on our tests.

4. Forget to hydrate

Forgetting to take care of your health because of cramming is another thing you should avoid. Hydration is an important activity to keep the body healthy and avoid unwanted illnesses or health complications. You wouldn’t want to come to the exam hall with a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius because you caught the flu while you were studying late at night and forgot to drink water. Being sick would only lessen our chances of acing our exam even more as you would have trouble focusing and would be drowsy from the effects of medicine.

5. Rely on too much caffeine

Another partner of cramming which you should avoid from overuse is caffeine. Caffeine can be a good way to keep our brain up while studying, but relying on too much caffeine may hinder your sleep. Caffeine blocks the part of the brain which enables you to determine whether you are tired or not, and too much of this may cause our body to be physically fatigued while your brain still thinks your body is doing fine. Lack of sleep and a tired body can be a really tough one-two combo to deal with when taking an exam.

The Do’s

In contrast to the don’ts of preparing for an exam, the do’s are activities which you should do to help boost our brain function, focus, and mood to help you get ready for acing that exam.

1. Plan ahead

The first tip you should do when preparing for an exam is to plan ahead on what you are going to do to prepare for that exam. Make a schedule of what to study and when to study them to avoid having to cram them all in one night. Also make sure to ask for the coverage of the exam so that you will not miss out on and topics that may come out and haunt you.

2. Start to study a week before an exam

If you really want to prepare yourself fully for an exam, then try to start studying for the exam a week before it happens. This allows you to cover all of the topics which will be in the exam and also gives your brain enough time to process and store the information properly. You can also avoid having to cram all of the topics included in your exam.

3. Sleep enough hours

Sleep deprivation is never good for the brain and is especially difficult to deal with when you are taking an exam. So, try to get enough sleep ever night and especially during the night before an exam to give our brain enough rest and allow it to function in its maximum capacity. You shouldn’t have any problems fitting in 7-8 hours of sleep in your schedule once you have planned out the entire week.

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4. Eat healthy foods

Your body is a temple and you should take care of it at all times. Try to eat nutritious meals to keep our body in tip-top shape and supply your brain with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Not only will your body thank you for it, but you will also be thanking yourself because you did not get sick during the day of the exam.

5. Regulate study time

While studying diligently can be a good thing, it is also important to regulate the time you spend studying and take breaks ever once in a while. Taking a break allows your brain to rest up and asses the information you feed it, plus it also lets you stretch those stiff shoulders and aching neck from studying for too long. Everything should be taken in moderation and that includes studying as well.

6. Choose your study environment

Another thing one should do in order to prepare for an exam is to choose their study environment properly. Your study environment should preferably be an environment that allows you to concentrate and focus on our studies and avoid distractions. An environment such as your room, a coffee shop, or a library is a good place to start. Just make sure that your desk is not cluttered and that there is minimal noise to distract you while studying.

7. Have a study partner/group

Another thing you can do to prepare for an exam is to have a study partner/group. Studying as a group can greatly increase your overall efficiency as you can assign different topics to each member of the group and have that person teach the group what he/she has learned. This allows you to save time and makes the topics you studied easier to retrieve as discussing something you have learned can make it easier to recall the information.

However, make sure to limit the number of people in your study group to 4 people including yourself as any more and it will become difficult to manage the group. Having more people also raises the risk of the members of the group ending up talking with each other and not do any studying at all.

8. Master what will come out

Of course, one of the do’s you should not forget when preparing for an exam is to master what will come out of the exam. All of our efforts would only be meaningless if you failed to achieve results. However, if you really have trouble with what will come out during an exam, then you can always hire a tutor to help you in your studies.

Lucky for you, we have just the right place. FamilyTutor is Singapore’s number one home tuition agency with thousands of highly skilled and qualified home tutors. We can teach every individual from pre-school up university-level students and offer a wide range of subjects to choose from. What’s more, our rates are ensured to be at market value so you wouldn’t have to worry about spending too much for the best quality education you should get.



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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