7 Common mistakes students make when studying for an exam

Examinations go a long way in determining how well you will do overall in school, so it is important that you prepare, and prepare smartly

Tips for studying

Examinations go a long way in determining how well you will do overall in school, so it is important that you prepare, and prepare smartly. There are a few mistakes students make in the anxiety and excitement of exam preparation.

Take a look at them below with tips on how to turn it around.

1. Relying on your teachers: The job of your teacher is to provide you with a general guideline on a subject, so do not assume that just because you attend classes and your notes are up-to-date, you are prepared for any exam. While your teachers can do their best, really understanding a particular material is ultimately up to you.

2. Not starting early enough. Procrastination truly is the thief of time, and this is so much more evident when it comes to studying for exams. If you choose to study for an upcoming test only a couple of weeks beforehand, then you will be in trouble. Studying for exams often takes more time then you might anticipate, so make sure you get started early!

3. Studying in chronological rather than priority order: This is another very common mistake. Studying should be done in order of importance, and not looking through all of the notes from class in chronological order. If you choose to study your notes step by step from oldest to newest, you risk running out of time to review the material you learned most recently, which is often emphasized more heavily on the final exam. You should study in order of priority, which means you focus on subjects topics that are more important.

4.Being too passive: When students only rely on the class notes for studying, this will lead to problems. A lot of students can attest to the fact that when they study just their notes, they find it difficult to understand. There is really no point in studying if you do not understand the subject. A more effective way is to employ  more active study strategies that require you to engage with the material, such as study group, or finding a different source of information.

5. Not testing themselves: The most ideal way to learn is through practice testing. This means testing yourself on the material or having someone quiz you.  Unfortunately, many students spend much more time reviewing their notes than they do taking practice tests. You should test yourself on the information you’re studying as frequently as possible, both to enhance your memory and to confirm that you have actually learned it.

6. Reading what they already know: There is a feeling of comfort and confidence that comes with reviewing a subject you already know, but if you are guilty of this, you are doing yourself a disservice. When you are sure you know, understand and can answer questions on a particular topic, it is time to move on to something more challenging.

7. Memorizing: Some students make the mistake of memorizing, as opposed to actually understanding the material. The issue with this is if you’ve memorized a definition but don’t really understand what it means, then as soon as the information is presented in a slightly different format, or you’re asked to apply it to a new type of problem, you will have no idea how to proceed. Focus on understanding the underlying concept of the subject, and you will be a much better student.


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