There are many students that are getting ready to take semester exams for the first time. For those that are use to taking cumulative semester exams, this may not seem like a big deal. But, if you’ve never experienced this type of exam before, it can seem quite overwhelming. It’s a time when you have lots of material to review and have to reach into the depths of your brain to extract the information that you need to do well on the semester exam.
Preparing for such an exam does not have to be that dramatic, but it does require a little prep work. We’ll talk about how a math student can approach such an exam here. The first thing that the student should do is make sure that he or she fully understands the content for the exam. Consult with the teacher to make sure that the exam is cumulative or just on a subset of the material. Knowing the full range of the content being tested on is very important.
Next, let’s talk about how to review and prepare for the math exam.
- Collect all the teacher-recommended material. This may include old tests, test reviews, homework, and class notes from throughout the semester. Listen carefully to teacher instructions because sometimes you may hear them say things like “only study old tests”. That kind of information can really help you establish your focus area of preparation.
- Determine where you are having any problems (if any). What subject matter do you still not understand completely? This may be material from the beginning of the semester. If this is the case, this can be very damaging for future understanding as topics often build upon one another.
- Ask questions and get help. There are many places where you can get help in your trouble areas. Many teachers offer outside class time for questions and help. Classmates can be helpful (make sure the classmate you ask really knows what he or she is doing though!). On our website, we offer several videos on various topics.
- Begin reviewing and studying in plenty of time. The end of the semester is a very busy time. In addition to most every other class having a semester exam that you must study for, there are usually alot of activities occurring that take up time. Plan your study time wisely and do not try to study it all at once. Space out the study time to give yourself time to think about concepts and let them “soak in”.
- Start practicing NOW! Working practice problems of different case types should help you be better prepared for the exam. If you encounter different types of problems and learn how to work them, you have a higher likelihood of being able to handle the problems on your exam. We have several Pre-Algebra worksheets found on the individual videos pages, along with answers, that can help. In addition, work problems from your book, your notes, reviews, and old tests.
- Relax, think, and do your best! Preparing ahead of time is key to this last piece of advice. Feel confident as you go into exams because you have put the work in to do well. You have a great chance of being rewarded with a good grade in the end.
These suggestions are what we have put together for a math exam, but most can be applied to most any subject. These tips have helped us in the past, but what study tips help you? We’d love to hear them and pass them along. Share them in our comments.