Guide To Preparing For An Exam
8 min

Guide To Preparing For An Exam

8 min
Uploaded on
Nov 22, 2022
Last updated on
Dec 2, 2022
Uploaded on
Nov 22, 2022
Last updated on
Dec 2, 2022
Guide to preparing for an exam

Studying isn’t just for nerds, and we’re here to prove it. Maybe you’ve had enough and decided to turn your grades around. Or perhaps you’re seeking more efficient ways of studying. We’ll help you prepare for an exam, be it three months or just twenty-four hours away. Although if it’s the latter, you might want to hurry up and get to it! 

Before you start…

Study Plan

Steps to Build a Study Plan

Jot down your exam schedule and divide your time according to how difficult you find each subject. Create a realistic study plan matching your study techniques and build your study habits accordingly. Don’t leave anything for the last-minute, and set aside a few days for revision

Neat & Tidy

A cluttered room is a cluttered mind. So make space for all that knowledge you’re about to digest by cleaning up your room and putting away anything that might distract you while preparing for an exam. 

Doesn’t sound right? Maybe you’re one of the few who tend to thrive in a more disarranged space. In that case, do whatever feels most comfortable and beneficial to prepare for an exam. 

Arrange for Snacks

No amount of planning is going to strip you of your mortal limits - you’re bound to get hungry and crave a bite during your study session. Make sure to have snacks nearby to fuel your brain - bonus points for picking healthy and nutritious foods such as fish, nuts, seeds, yoghurt and blueberries since junk food might make you feel drowsy and lose focus. Sure, sugar might initially give you an energy boost, but it’s likely to end with an unavoidable nap

Determine Exam Questions

Know thy enemy. There might be 14,000,605 different ways to prepare for your exam, but only a few will help you ace your test. Understanding which questions to anticipate might give you a clearer picture of the best way to prepare for the paper. You can do this by:

Analysing Past Papers

Try to get a hold of past papers from past semesters with the help of your seniors or professors. Note down the questions with their likeliness to be repeated and answers along with the scores they were given. Analysing past papers and comparing them to each other will help you better understand what questions to expect. 

Research the Subject Matter

Which questions tend to repeat in each paper? Which questions are easy to score in? Asking yourself these questions while analysing past papers will give you a better idea of the questions to expect. Also, observe which chapters and concepts of the syllabus are covered most in the past papers. You can build your study plan accordingly. 

Study the Exam Format

Now, we’re not saying that your professor will hand you a list of questions to expect, but they might just give you a rough structure of the paper and what kind of questions to expect. So, ask your professor or turn to mock tests for the test format. Knowing what pattern of questions to expect will not only help you study better but it will also help you divide your time during the exam efficiently. 

If you’re looking for guides on specific exams, we’ve got you covered with guides to TOEFL, GRE, IELTS, GMAT, PTE, and ACT

Studying Tips


If you’ve regularly taken down notes during classes, you’ve made it a lot easier for yourself to prepare for an exam. If you haven’t, don’t worry, you can borrow your friend’s notes or make your own while studying. The first thing to do to prepare for your exam is to refresh your memory by reviewing your notes. If you’re missing out on any notes or believe you can improve them, go for it! We recommend skipping this and working with what you have for last-minute studying. 

A few ways you could improve your notes are:

  • Use visual aids like flowcharts and diagrams to present information visually, making it easier to remember the subject matter, mainly statistical data and classifications. 
  • Highlighting the crucial bits of information will make revising a lot easier. Just make sure you don’t go overboard and highlight most of the page.
  • You could also try colour-coding your notes with the help of colourful tabs and sticky notes

Find a revision style that suits you

With all these study techniques and tricks, studying can definitely get complicated. That’s why we recommend building a combination of 2-3 study techniques that complement each other and work well with your pre-existing study habits. Feel free to explore various study techniques but ensure you stick to your combination once you establish it, to avoid wasting too much time.

Here are a few study techniques that will help you study effectively:

Make Flashcards

Once you’re done studying your notes, you can pick out information from your notes to make flashcards. Don’t start looking for spare paper just yet. With the magic of the internet at your fingertips, making flashcards has become simpler than ever. All you have to do is create a set of questions and answers, jot down pairs of keywords, and use apps like Memrise, Anki, and Quizlet to make flashcards. 

Quiz yourself

Once you’ve made the flashcards, use them to quiz yourself. Build confidence by reviewing questions that you’ve gotten wrong. Keep an eye out for tricky topics, and feel free to go back to your notes to revise if needed. You will likely find a few multiple-choice quizzes for your subject online, so feel free to look them up. 

Practice questions

Although flashcards are helpful for studying, they shouldn’t be relied upon entirely when preparing for an exam. They might help you remember keywords and short answers, but other methods will help you better understand your subject matter. The powerful combination of flashcards, quizzes and mock tests will surely help you gain confidence in your ability to ace your test. Solving mock tests is especially helpful for subjects that involve numerical calculations and require practice to memorise formulas, such as maths, physics and chemistry. 

Reward yourself

If you struggle to find the motivation to study, consider including rewards for productive study sessions. You could end your revision session with a relaxing bath or an episode from your favourite show. When doing this, ensure you don’t get swept away by the rewards and stay focused on preparing for the exam. 

Form Study Groups

Studying in groups helps you understand the subject matter better as you feel more at ease discussing it with your friends. When studying in groups, you could even turn dull topics into a game with the help of flashcards and quizzes. Allowing yourself to engage in creative discussions with your study group might help deepen your understanding of the concepts while showing you new perspectives. As long as you don’t stray too far from the topic and stay focused on preparing for an exam, study groups can significantly improve your studying pace while also being fun. 

Remember to Revise

Revising is a must if you want to ace your test. Not only does it build confidence, but it also gives you a chance to work on your weaknesses you identified when testing yourself. 

Review your syllabus

The first step when revising is reviewing your syllabus. Before shifting your focus to particular topics, you must ensure you haven’t missed any broader topics. 

Re-read your notes

Yes, go through your notes again, but ensure you understand every concept this time. You can also cover the page and quiz yourself to make sure you are familiar with the subject matter. 


Nothing beats the dread of spending hours with your book open only to realise you haven’t understood any of it. Take a break. Not only does it help replenish your productivity and motivation, it improves your grasping capacity as well. If you feel guilty taking breaks, here are some ways to be productive even when you’re not preparing for an exam.

How to make your study breaks productive?

Stay Hydrated

Remember that being well-hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout your revision and exam day. Don’t forget to feed yourself during breaks, as a rumbling stomach might distract your attention from preparing for an exam. 

Ask for help

If you are stuck on a problem or question, don’t hesitate to ask someone for help. Don’t delay clearing your doubts; ask someone you trust, such as a friend, teacher or family member, for help. Memorising subject matter might not always help you in your exam. Once you believe you’ve fully understood the subject matter, you could try explaining it to others new to it, such as your parents, siblings or friends. Teaching someone else will give you fresh perspectives on the subject and help you identify any areas you need to revise. 

Exam Preparation Tips

Plan your exam day

It’s almost D-Day! Pack your bag the night before and ensure you’ve taken everything you need, including any writing material like pens and pencils and other necessities such as your calculator. Don’t forget to pack tissues and a bottle of water. Leave for the venue early to ensure you arrive on time. 

Careful about the instructions and questions

Don’t rush when reading the instructions and questions. Only begin writing the answer once you’re confident you’ve understood the question and have the answer mapped out. 

Divide your time

Try your best to stick to each question’s allotted time while researching the paper format. If you get stuck on a question, don’t panic. Avoid lingering on it for too long. Keep the question in mind, leave sufficient space for the answer and come back to it later. Set aside at least 15 minutes after you’re done with the paper to avoid missing any questions. 

Done & Dusted

Once the exam is over, don’t spend much time reviewing it in your head. Although comparing answers with your friends might help you understand how well you did, avoid spending too much time on it. Instead, direct your focus towards your next exam preparation. 

Tips for last-minute studying

Quick! There’s no time to explain. You don’t know how you got here, but you’ve found yourself running out of time to prepare for an exam once again. Here are some quick tips to help you ace your test with some last-minute studying. 

Get a hold of some good notes

The first thing to do for last-minute studying is find good notes to study from if you don’t have your own. With precious time ticking away, you can no longer afford the luxury of making notes while studying. Instead, borrow a friend’s notes or study directly from your textbooks. 

Map out priorities

Go through the syllabus and mark down the essential concepts. Avoid cramming the entire subject matter and, instead, map out a realistic study plan that covers the high-priority concepts. 

Focus on what you know

For last-minute studying, it is more effective to focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. Build confidence in the concepts you know well and get a vague idea of the other concepts. If time permits, you could revisit them later. 

Hit the books 

If relying solely on textbooks, focus more on the essential sections. Books usually provide a summary of each chapter at the end of the lesson. These will help you get an idea of which concepts are crucial. 

Avoid pulling all-nighters

Trying to cram in more studying by putting off sleep will negatively affect your health as well as your focus abilities. Make sure you get enough sleep before the exam, and don’t test your body’s limits. 

Look after yourself

Don’t let preparing for an exam disrupt your sleeping and eating habits. Ensure you eat healthy meals to help you focus while preparing for an exam. Avoid taking the exam on an empty stomach. 

In a nutshell, it is still better late than never. We’re here to help you get rid of the stress of preparing for an exam. Following these exam preparation tips will make preparing for an exam much more effortless. You got it! 

Frequently Asked Questions