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Rachel's Guide to Exams

Planning is everything (that is why I'm posting this so ahead of time to stress the importance of planning). Exams can be very overwhelming. What works for me is to take a step back to figure out everything that is going to be on each exam and then break that load down. This means taking the material and breaking it down into units. I do this because it makes the huge load of material seem less overwhelming. I also like to use exam calculators. Here is an example of one: It has you type in your current grade, your percent weight of your exam, and your goal ending grade. Then, it will tell you the lowest grade you can get to end with your goal grade. I do this for all of my classes to get an outline of what I can do to reach my goal grades and which classes to prioritize when studying. I also really take advantage of the weekends before exams. I like to make a schedule of what classes I'm going to work on at what time. I also, on top of my schedule, like make a specific list of goals (what work for each class) I want to get done that day. I add in times for breaks too. I usually dislike schedules for work and have a hard time following them. However, the more specific I make them, the more effective they are for me. Overall, planning and working ahead is key to acing exams


To study for exams, I alter my notes a little. Instead of adding new notes on the same material into my journals, I write in-depth notes for all my classes on copy paper. Over Thanksgiving break, I started to do a little exam prep and studying. It is such a rewarding feeling to finish one page of notes and lay it aside to start another. By the time exams come, I will have huge piles of every topic and unit covered. The thing about exams is that you already know the basics of the information, but you need to refresh yourself on the depth of the information you used to be able to recall it. I get to this point by rewriting the information in my own words which helps me make sense of the information. I like to use the notes I took to study for the unit originally as a guide. However, I like to rewrite my notes when studying for exams like I'm studying for a regular test, by going to the specific sources I used such as textbooks, teacher handouts, and etc.


I want to end this blog post on with some final thoughts. When I take a test, my goal is that I know the material so well and to such depth that I would be able to teach people who know nothing about the material. In order to do this, you have to figure out what means will get you there. This means how will you study and what time will you put in. Exams are no different even though the means to get to the specific goal may be more time-consuming. I also like to think that failure is a great learning opportunity. Now, I know that writing out fun notes is the best study strategy that works for me. However, it took me trying and not getting the results I wanted with other strategies to get there. For me, the first nine weeks of school is about figuring out what work you need to do to succeed in each teachers' class. In order to truly succeed, you need to take what you did wrong and alter your thinking and work for it until it is right. If your not getting the grades you want, by studying the same way you won't give achieve the grades you want. This is a good way to think especially as exams are coming back. Take the time to look back on old test grades and wonder why did you do that bad on that test and good on the other. Reflecting on what works and what doesn't may be just what you need to ace your exams. Thanks for reading! Can't wait for you to ace your exams!

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