As the semester is quickly drawing to a close, the impending tasks of semester exams looms ever closer on the horizon.
Before long, students will have that terrible feeling of panic as they stare down six ridiculously long study guides with no idea where to begin or how to memorize every single page of review.
The most important thing to do when faced with this predicament that only comes twice a year is to relax and resist the urge to curl up in a ball and cry.
The best thing to do in this situation is to approach each study guide systematically. Having a plan for each subject will help you study better and will also give you a tiny bit of peace of mind.
Follow these tips for each subject in order to develop a plan and survive until Christmas break:
If you buy a completed study guide for math and expect to get a good grade, then you are very unintelligent and misinformed. The only way to review the material for the math exam is to do problems. Lots and lots of them. Just dive in and do a ridiculous amount of math problems until you understand them. Once you think you have mastered a certain type of problem, move on. Concentrate on the more difficult problems that you don’t understand, and skim over the easier problems you already know how to do. Rinse and repeat.
History exams require you to not only memorize hundreds of terms and people but to also know why they are important in context. While it is important to make your own study guides for optimum performance on semester exams, it is especially critical to write out your own study guide for history. By looking up each term or person in your text book, it forces you to read around as you look for the definition. This indirectly gives you the context as well as the actual definition, and when it comes time to review, you will be familiar with each term already. Working in small groups can drastically reduce time spent on the study guide. Grab some friends and either divide and conquer or just discuss the more difficult people and events.
While the studying procedure for this exam oscillates with each particular course, it basically follows the same tips as history and math. Don’t buy a study guide. For physics and chemistry, work out as many problems as you can. For biology, particularly freshmen who haven’t had high school finals yet, cover as much material as you can, and do the study guide yourself.
Students will be taking different language exams, either Spanish, French or Latin. However, the tips remain the same. Just like studying for the English exam, it is important to make flashcards for vocabulary. Try writing out the conjugations of difficult verbs in order to memorize them better. It often helps to type up each grammar section you need to know about, as well as examples of each. Use the book’s examples and create a few of your own. This will help you memorize and apply each grammar rule to a real example.
English study guides are usually pretty straight-forward. The best way to memorize vocab and literary terms is to make note cards and go over them constantly. Briefly go over or skim the literature read during the semester, and review the main themes of each work. Go over the plots and characters of each piece of literature. Find out as much as you can about the essays, and prepare accordingly.