Exam Prep II: My Studying Routine


This is part two of my exam prep post. Check out part one here! Anyways, this is my official studying routine. It may seem tedious to some but after years of studying, I found that this routine is my favourite since it almost always guarantees me good grades. But just remember, in the end it’s really about finding something that works for yourself!

My Exam Studying Routine

As of now, all my courses have a textbook of some sort and Powerpoint slides that the professor provides. As the course progresses, I will take notes for each chapter of the textbook that is on the syllabus. I will also take notes on the Powerpoint and lectures showed in class. Typically, I have a designated notebook for each course.

Before I start studying for an exam, I like to go through every possible link that the professors tell us to check out and bookmark them into a folder specifically for the course. I then download all the practice exams and answers (if available) into a folder on my laptop that is also specifically for the course so I can access them easily later. I also make flashcards with condensed notes on the learning goals. Now that I have all my study materials with easy reach, the official studying begins.

My main studying method is reading, thinking, and reenacting. For each piece of study material, I read a chunk of text, think about it in my head and then recite it out loud in a way as if I had to teach someone who had no clue about any of the material. I find this really effective because I’m not just reading the text but absorbing it and teaching it, which forces me to really understand it. Speaking out loud really helps as well since you’re hearing the material and using more senses to study. Because I need to talk out loud, I often study at home on the day before my exam.

Now, I know reading is definitely not for everyone since textbook reading can take a long time and its so easy for what you’re reading to just fly over your head, but my routine works well for me because I’m more of a self-learner.

As you will see in my to-do list below, my routine is basically a list. If I’m really feeling rushed I will make a timed schedule that gives me more pressure to study more efficiently.

1. I read the textbook fully and carefully

Reading the textbook is an absolute must for me because this is where I get the most detailed information and builds a strong foundation of knowledge.

2. I read lecture notes or Powerpoint slides that are from in class.

Typically, tests will focus more on the material the professor goes over in class.

3. I go over any videos, animations, or other links that my professor has recommended.

After all that reading, it’s very helpful to watch some videos or do some interactive animations that give you a visual idea of the material.

4. I do practice exams.

It’s effective to do practice questions only after you’ve covered all the material because then you can see what areas you’re lacking in.

5. I go over my own written notes. 

My written notes are from the textbook but are shorter and more condensed. I go over these as an added reinforcement.

6. I go over any sections that I had trouble on.

As I read the material, I like to note words I don’t know or sections that I feel like I forget very easily. This is when I go over all the sections I had trouble with before and get a better understanding.

7. I go over my flashcards.

As the very very last step, I will go over my flashcards just to tie everything together.

As you can see above, I treat studying kind of like a show. There is the beginning which is me reading the material, the middle where I’m doing practice questions, and the end where I wrap up all the loose ends and end off with a bang! Basically, I’m just trying to make studying seem way more fun than it actually is. A girl can try, no?

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