Exam preparation: the effective study

In high school, one could perhaps pass his exams without studying too much. This is no longer true in college. It is necessary not only to study, but also to study effectively. An effective study requires a method that requires effort, but it must yield results.



Exam preparation begins at the first class. Attendance at all classes is essential because it is in the classroom that learning begins. However, it is not enough to attend the course to pass exams, you must:

• take active listening and take notes;

• make the readings and the requested work;

• consult your teacher for any misunderstood concept;

• keep notes and documents in order;

• allow time for daily and weekly reviews;

• establish a schedule or schedule of exams.

Short term
It is important not to postpone the entire study of the subject the day before the examination, but to spread it over the preceding days. Indeed, we better retain a material when it is reviewed several times. Do not wait to have the taste to study. Motivation comes in the action. Allow a break of 10 minutes for each hour of study, or a break of 5 minutes for 30 minutes of study. Study with adequate lighting, in a quiet and well-ventilated area, sitting rather than lying down.

During the exams
• Review the exam: read the instructions and questions. Spot the easiest questions. Note in the margin the ideas that come to mind.

• Determine how much time will be spent on questions. If you have not finished a question in due course, we move on to another. We come back to the question at the end of the exam, if there is time left.

• Read the statement of questions carefully. Pay particular attention to keywords, including the verbs used in a question statement. Bernard Dionne insists on the meaning of the following verbs:

• Comment: make remarks and observations, interpret, criticize.

• Compare: find the similarities and differences between two or more elements.

• Criticize: bring out the qualities and flaws of a text.

• Describe: list the characters of something; relate events in chronological order or in narrative form.

• Define: give the meaning, the precise meaning of a notion or a word.

• Demonstrate: Evidently prove something with facts or arguments. Demonstrating requires a rigorous and systematic approach. To know more

• List: make a list of names, of facts, one after the other.

• Explain: highlight who, what, how and why facts.

• Illustrate: clarify by means of an example, a drawing, a graph.

• Prove: establish the veracity of the proposal by providing evidence, facts, clear and logical arguments.

• Summarize: reproduce, in one’s own words and as accurately as possible, the essence of a text or a phenomenon.

• Answer questions from the easiest to the most difficult.

• Review your answers to make sure you have not forgotten anything.

• Make a last reading to correct the mistakes.

After the exams

• When you receive a copy, read the teacher’s notes carefully. Be attentive to the correction of the exam in class. Meet with your teacher if you do not understand your mistakes.

• If we have failed, we are not discouraged. The causes of its failure are analyzed and lessons learned for the next review.

The SQ3R method
This method derives from the Robinson method, known by the acronym SQ3R.

1) To fly over: to quickly take knowledge of the matter to acquire an overview (to know the plan of the matter facilitates the memorization). To do this, display your class notes in front of you, pay particular attention to divisions, graphs, diagrams, etc.

2) Question: instead of reading information one after the other, formulate questions about the subject from headings and subtitles. By questioning matter, one becomes active in one’s learning; understanding and memorization are facilitated.

Read again:

• Carefully and actively re-read the material as you try to answer the questions.

• Get a pencil.

• Re-read everything: tables, maps, etc.

• To dwell on the facts, the ideas and the links that unite them.

• Build tables and schemas to classify information.

4) To recite: to say aloud the information, without relying on outside help, to verify its learning. You have to remember the big themes and the logic that connects them. The definitions or important formulas must be repeated in full.

5) Revise: end with an overview to get an overview of the subject. Spread out your class notes again in front of you.