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Study Skills: Preparing for Exams - A Timeline

Do you feel anxious at the thought of your exams? Don't panic! 

At the start of the school year  Find Out: 

  • Which of your subjects has an exam?
  • What is the assessment procedure for each subject?
  • What are the expectations of the subject?


  • Start studying as soon as classes begin.
  • Read assignments, listen during lectures and take good classroom notes.

Two Months before the exam:

  • Develop a study timetable.
  • Within a subject, find out what topics are to be examined. What will be the format of the exam? (example: oral, multiple-choice, essay)
  • Using your study notes on these topics, begin your reviews.
  • Plan ahead, schedule review periods well in advance.
  • Keep your reviews, short but do them often.
  • If you feel anxious about the forthcoming exams, see your School Counsellor about starting a relaxation program.

One month before the exam:

  • Which of your subjects has an exam?
  • What is the assessment procedure for each subject?
  • More Review, review, Review!

The week before the exam:

  • What equipment is needed (example: calculator, paper, pen, HB pencil, etc.)
  • Check the timetable.
  • And more review, review , review!
  • Try some relaxation techniques.

The Day before the exam:

  • Revise the final copy of your study notes.
  • Do not cram
  • Confirm timetable of exam and the room it will be held.

The Night before the exam:

  • Do your final revision
  • Check your bag for equipment.
  • Set your alarm clock and get a good night's rest.

On the Day of the exam:

  • Have a decent breakfast.
  • Don't think about touching your books!
  • Arrive early and get yourself and your equipment organized.

During the exam:

  • Listen to and read all instructions carefully.
  • Scan the entire examination paper- notice how  many points each part is worth and estimate the time needed for individual questions and place yourself accordingly.
  • Sketch notes on rough working paper when information comes to mind.
  • If you get stuck on a question try to remember a related act.  Start from the general and go to the specific.  Look for answers in other test questions.  Often a term,name, date or other fact you have forgotten will appear somewhere else in the test giving your memory a boost.  Move on to the next question if memory aids don't help.  You can always go back to the question later if you have time.
  • Try to answer as many questions and give as much information as possible.
  • Ignore other students.
  • If you feel anxious during the exam, use deep breathing techniques to calm yourself down.

After the exam:

  • Accept the results and either resolve to do better next time or Celebrate!



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