In this post, we provide tips on how to study for an exam. The study tips are tried and tested tips and based on the writer’s experience as math student, teacher and examiner. The tips will help you to ace your Grades 12, 10 and 8 examinations at the end of the year.
In this article, we discuss:
- how to study for an exam,
- why deep study,
- the difference between preparing for an exam and studying for an exam; and
- how to make a study timetable. You can also download the Study Timetable Template for your personal use.
Key point: Deep-study for an exam is short and intensive study session free of any distractions. Read about how you can do deep study and ace your final exams.
How to study for an exam
Deep-study includes spending an hour doing intensive work in a particular subject before going onto the next subject.
For example, you study Language and Literature, Math B, Biology, Chemistry and Geography at higher secondary school. You should allocate 1 hour every night for an ‘uninterrupted study’. Your exam preparation time should look like this:
- Monday night – Language and Literature (L&L)
- Tuesday – Math B
- Wednesday – Biology,
- Thursday – Chemistry and
- Friday – Geography
Identify your study time, homework time and reading time. Put them in your timetable too. You may schedule your study time from 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm, complete homework from 9:00 pm – 9:30 pm read from 9:30 pm – 10:00 pm. Or do it the other way around whichever is convenient for you.
Exam study timetable ‘sample’
Perhaps it is important to have stability when preparing for examinations. Having an exam study timetable is the best way to enhance stability during a hectic study period.
See the sample study timetable and download the Exam Study Sample/ Excel Template to help you with your preparations
As mentioned earlier, your study time, reading time and homework time are not the same things. They contribute to your knowledge base so put those times in your study timetable and follow strictly.
Start preparing for exams early
The earlier the better. You know yourself well. If you think you need a lot of grounds to cover to prepare for the examinations, then start early (By starting early means, 8 – 10 weeks). That means that Grades 10, 12 and 8 students should start preparing in Term 3 (week 4) of the academic year for the final examinations.
One of the best things to do is to identify a list of topics studied in 2 years. To help you, here is the list of topics we created for the levels below. You can download the list of topics in PDF and word document. The word file is editable which means you can download and type your revision notes under each topic.
The topics are compiled from the PNG school Mathematics School Syllabus. Download the list of mathematics topics by clicking on the links in blue below the diagram of Grade 8 Core Topics.
- Upper Primary School Grades 7 & 8 Math Topics
- Lower (Junior) Secondary School Grades 9 & 10 Math Topics
- Upper (Senior) Secondary School Grades 11 & 12 (General Math Topics) | (Advanced Math Topics)
Preparing early helps you do well in exams. When you brainstorm your notes early, collect study materials early and organise your subject materials before the exams stand the change to ace your final exams. No doubt.
Dangers of study for an exam in 1 day
Last-minute preparation is not good preparation. Many students wait until the day before an exam to study for it. It is not okay to rush and get yourself all mixed up.
Thinks about it. You may have more than 4 subjects to study for. And, you have 14 days (2 weeks) to study for each subject. How can you revise for all the subjects if you do not have all the revision notes and materials? Therefore, the earlier you prepare for the exams, the better!
How to study for an exam: Preparing vs Studying
Now, it is important to note that studying for an exam requires prior preparation. Your revision (or exam study notes) depends on the exam resources you have collected. Preparing for exams can be summed in the following bullet points:
- Revisit your exercise (subject note) books
- Brainstorm the list of topics from School Syllabus (Download links in the article, see above)
- Collect revision materials (books, past papers, etc…)
- Create study timetable
- Compile revision notes by subjects
Many experienced teachers (and study advocates) know that exam preparation is fundamental when studying for an exam. As mentioned, it takes more time preparing than you think.
In this article (on how to study for an exam), we pointed out that it can take up to 1 term (10 weeks) to prepare (by collecting materials and organising notes by topics) for the end of the year exams. Therefore, start gathering exam materials from your teachers, school, or the Internet. Do not leave it too late.
Avoid interruptions during deep-study
It requires a great deal of self-discipline and concentration. Turn your phone off. Social media, calls, games, and other notifications on your phone will distract you from doing deep-study. The 1 hour marked for doing deep-study MUST be free from any form of interruption including your mobile phone.
A true deep study is a complete shutting-out of the whole world. And focusing on studying for the coming exam for a full 60 minutes.
Deep study for an exam distractions-free
The ‘how to study for an exam’ tips focus on preparing for an exam as an important first step to effective study. Understandably, if you do not gather the right revision materials before an exam, you’ll have problems revising the fundamental facts your need to answer a certain exam question.
It is like building a house. The housebuilder must have a plan (List of topics), collect the right materials s/he needs, know when to use the materials (timetable), and build the house (organise notes by subject for revision).
You will not (and CANNOT) go wrong if you prepare the materials in good time, make your revision notes and use them effectively when you are studying for an examination.