How to Prepare for Exams: 14 Tips to Do Well on Your Next Exam

Every semester, students are faced with the daunting task of preparing for exams. With so many assignments and projects to complete in addition to all of their coursework, it can be hard to find time for exam preparation. But preparing is essential if you want a good grade on your final exam! That’s why we’ve compiled some tips below that will help you do well on your upcoming midterm or final.

Get organized:

It sounds simple but taking 10 minutes every night after dinner to organize your notes and readings from the day before can make all the difference when it comes down to studying at the last minute.

  • Create a study sheet for each exam with the specific topics and questions to be answered.
  • Put all of your readings on one Excel spreadsheet in order by chapter or topic to make it easier to find information when you need it at the last minute.

Create an outline:

Creating an outline will ensure that you know exactly what information goes into each section of your study time.

  • Start by making a list of all the points that you want to include in your outline.
  • Use Roman numerals for major sections and Arabic numbers for sub-points within those sections.
  • Add a title for each major section.
  • Write the content of your outline in plain text, not bullet points or numbers.
  • While you’re studying, set aside 30 minutes every other day and fill that time with light reading just for fun.
  • Take at least one study break an hour before bedtime – this will help you sleep better too!

Set goals:

Setting goals is important when it comes to preparing for exams, so be sure to include those as well: It’s best if these goals are SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Relevant/Realistic, and Timely).

  • Make a list of your goals and keep them posted in the same place you study best.
  • Set an exam preparation date for each midterm or final that is at least two weeks before the test so you’ll have time to review what you’ve learned.


Take time throughout the semester to plan chapters or topics with your instructor, so you know exactly what will be on each exam instead of waiting until finals week to find out which concepts are going to make up the test. This will also help reduce cramming at the last minute!

Learn as much as possible:

Reviewing is key! The best way to learn for exams is by reviewing everything you know. Start studying early and give yourself more time to review your notes than if you were cramming at the last minute. This will help with the retention of information when it comes time for the exam! Take lessons from experts at Wizeprep and learn the best exam preparation strategies.

Study in a quiet place with no distractions:

When you’re studying, find a quiet place without any distractions. This will allow for better concentration and retention of information from your notes. You can create a separate study corner that’s designed for this purpose, or you can just get away from your desk and go somewhere quiet in the house.

Use a time-blocking technique:

One way to best prepare for an exam is by using a time-blocking technique. This will allow you to carve out specific chunks of time each day that is specifically dedicated to studying different subjects while keeping the rest of your time free and clear as well. You can do this twice per week or even every day if you want! It’s up to you how much effort and preparation it takes on your part to achieve success on exams.

Keep a calendar to help organize all assignment’s due dates:

A best practice is to keep track of everything happening during the semester, so you don’t have any surprises come exam time. You might use a paper calendar, but if it’s easier, there are also plenty of online tools like Google Calendar where you can create an event with reminders about deadlines and when papers need to be turned in. This will not only remind you about important events coming up but helps break down large tasks into smaller ones!

Increase study sessions gradually over time:

The best way to prepare for any exam is by reviewing all content one week prior, then moving up two weeks, then four, and so on. This is best because it allows you to review all topics evenly instead of only reviewing what happened last week or this week.

If your exam isn’t in the same format as past exams:

It’s important that you’re not just preparing for one type of test over and over again; make sure you are also prepared for different types of tests like essay questions, multiple-choice questions, true/false statements, short answer questions, etc.

For example, if you usually take a long-answer final but there is an essay final coming up soon: study everything! Review flashcards with grammar rules such as subject-verb agreement and punctuation; practice essays by writing out responses (you can use them later when studying); and do sample problems for the test.

Use mnemonics:

Mnemonic devices are best used to remember the meaning behind certain vocabulary words or concepts that can be difficult to recall during an exam where time is limited! It’s best not to rely on them too heavily, though, as they may become ineffective if overused.

Make sure you know what the grading scale looks like:

Make sure you know how your professor grades so that when it comes time for exams, it doesn’t come as such a surprise to see lower than expected marks! If this is something new, then speak with your professor about how they like their students graded before.

Involve friends and family members in your preparations:

Find someone who wants to help review concepts with you- it’ll take some stress off their shoulders too! Friends and family members are best at understanding the student’s perspective, so they’ll be able to help you best prepare for your exam.

Make sure you’re well-rested:

The best way to avoid having a bad night of sleep is by getting enough hours! Make sure that you get around eight or more hours of rest every day, as it will really affect how well you do on an exam. You can also try some natural remedies like drinking chamomile tea before bedtime, which has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality.


Whether you’re cramming frantically or taking a more laid-back approach to preparing for an exam, giving yourself ample time and following these ten helpful tips should help make things go a lot smoother during this stressful season of finals.

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