Studying for an exam when you have very limited time can be incredibly stressful. Plus, if the exam isn’t in your first language, which is the case for many international students, it becomes even harder. But, there are ways to study very effectively, so don’t cram last minute by re-reading and not understanding the information fully. You can do this, let’s get you prepared for that fast-approaching test!
Don’t cram, and instead create a study schedule. This schedule should have two distinct parts, time-slots and the information that will be studied during that time. This means you should block off parts of your days leading up to the exam, and fill those times with chapters or sections you want to finish reviewing. Creating this schedule will help you stay on track and get through all the material prior to the exam.
The biggest thing here is to allow yourself enough time to get through the material you want to cover. You don’t want to be scrambling at the end to learn the last two chapters, for example.
Another tip is to study based on the exam style. For example, if your exam is going to include essays be sure you have a very good understanding of key concepts and events. These key concepts can usually be found at the beginning of the lecture slides, where the professor outlines what you will be covering. This way, you’ll have enough information to actually write a whole essay or two. If you focus more on minor details or facts in your studying, it will be hard to write a lengthy essay on a broad topic. Another thing to keep in mind is your English writing skills, If it’s an essay style exam, take time to review those.
Additionally, if your exam is more of a fill-in-the-blank style test or multiple-choice, it might be more of a priority to understand details or specific methods for solving questions. With multiple-choice, it won’t be enough to understand broad concepts, you’ll need to learn the details too in case they ask very specific questions. To learn the details, one method could be to make new notes. For example, you could create a web all about the main idea and have the details as extensions of this main idea. If you are not sure which type of note taking suits your style, take a look at The 5 Best Ways to Take Notes to Get an A! To find the details, use resources such as old notes or your textbook. But again, don’t cram, juts systematically go through the material and focus on the confusing parts.
A third tip is to study in groups. And this means ACTUALLY studying in a group, not just talking with friends. One thing you could do in your study group is to share the areas you’re struggling with in the course material, get them to help you, and then do the same for them. This will help you learn and better understand the parts you’ve been struggling with, plus it allows you to go over things you already understand again with your study friends! Also, you could create practice exams for each other based on the content and exam-style you’ll see the day of the exam. This is a great practice opportunity before stepping into the real exam.
Finally, one of the biggest keys to studying with limited time is to cut out all distractions. This means shutting your phone off and getting to work. Also, it means studying in a relatively quiet place where sounds won’t distract you as you work. For example, if you’re a Vancouver student, the Vancouver Public Library is a great, quiet study space! Doing both of these things will allow you to spend more time on studying and keep you focused during your study sessions.
Remember, don’t cram! Studying for an exam with limited time is challenging, especially when the exam is in a new language. But, if you focus and work hard in the days leading up to it, you should have some success on the exam. Remember to create a study plan before getting started, this will help you stay on track ad review everything you need to before exam day, good luck!