Everyone makes mistakes - there’s no shame in it. The only man who never makes a mistake is a man who never does anything with his life, after all. We should never be afraid of making mistakes. What is most important is that we learn from our past mistakes, so that we will not repeat them. Recognizing the areas that we as students are especially mistake-prone when we revise for exams is the best way to avoid them.
The best place to start your efforts to break the cycle of mistakes in test prep is by identifying these tendencies in precise detail. If you aren’t even aware of your weaknesses, how can you expect to overcome them?
In this article, we have included a comprehensive list of five of the most frequent mistakes students make as they prepare for exams. Review each area of error closely as you try to determine whether it applies to you personally, and consider how best to utilize our advice on it, basing your future study routine on this rubric.
No Definitive Goal
is one of the most frequent mistakes that students make as they prepare for exams. They set out ready to crack the books, and go at it until they’re...done. What does that mean, though? With essays and other written assignments where it’s easy to buy online help, and finishing the paper means finishing your work. Meanwhile, the only “end” to studying for an exam is the day it takes place. You can try to say that you’re going to study 24/7 until test day, but that’s an impossible goal. Beyond a certain quantity of hours, your ability to focus all but collapses and any further efforts to revise are largely a waste of time.
Ask yourself this simple question: “What grade are you aiming for in your upcoming exam?”
Be realistic in your answer to the above question. How comfortable are you with the material already? How well do you handle stress surrounding test taking? How much time do you have to devote to studying for this particular exam? If you have multiple classes to prepare materials for in addition to this exam, you must divvy up your time wisely between your classes. Remember, don’t make perfect the enemy of the good. Day in, day out.
Once you are aware of your target, it becomes easier for you to organize your planning based on the same.
100% Dependence on Teachers and Tutors to Help You Prepare
Many students assume that all they need to do to prepare for exams is attend class and attempt to take in every one of their instructor’s words. It can be helpful to memorize the formulas and acronyms that your instructor puts on the board, but unless you understand independently how they work, you won’t be able to successfully deliver at the time of the exam.
Your teachers and tutors want to see if you can understand the material on your own terms and that you can explain it in your own words. They will be happy to give you additional materials or advice to help you greater synthesize the curriculum, but it will be up to you to internalize and display on exam day.
Starting At the Last-Minute
We all start out with high hopes and plenty of ambition when it comes to prepping for a big test: “I’m going to set aside plenty of time to study so that I’ll be 100% prepped and ready for my exam! I’ll get started soon, but not now…” We imagine this scenario sounds incredibly familiar to all students reading this.
Make no mistake: procrastinating is as enticing and addictive as any black market drug. Once you start, it can be extremely difficult to stop. As you keep putting off studying, your sense of anxiety around it will continue to grow, making it harder to concentrate when you do finally sit down to study and then for the exam. It’s easy to say “I’ll think about that tomorrow,” but don’t be like Scarlett O’Hara--do it today!
Passive Rote Memorization Strategies
The most common approach that students utilize while preparing for their exams is reading their classroom notes repeatedly until they know it by heart. This sort of rote memorization strategy is a passive form of learning and will probably do you more harm than good in the end. You don’t adequately develop your own thoughts and opinions on the matter, or an ability to explain it in your own words. This can be quite problematic, as independent thought is what instructors would like to see on exams.
Going In Without a Proper Routine or Plan
Perhaps the biggest mistake that we have seen students make is that they go into it blind, and without a decent plan of action. They attempt to cram all their knowledge of the semester’s material into a single study session, and do not know where to begin.
One way to give yourself more time to focus on exam preparation is to use a paid writing service like EduBirdie to handle your essays and composition-based assignments. Whether you need papers written from scratch, or help with editing or proofreading, this is a great resource for helping you maintain an academic balance.