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College Tip # 4 – Study Process for Exams

Top Ten College Tips

If you are following through the college tips in order, by now you have been going to class, you have been taking good notes, and you are reading the material.  Now it is time to focus on how to prepare for the exam.

Most Common Study Process
One of the most common study processes is to cram for the exam.  This involves studying all night for either one or two night just before the exam.  While a student can maybe get by and get average grades with this process, it is probably one of the least effective ways to learn the material and to get above average scores.

The Non-Cram Method
The alternative to cramming is to spread the material being studied across a larger span of time.  This will allow for better absorption of the information and a deeper dive into the different sections or chapters.

Of course, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that spreading the material across more time and studying earlier is good.  So why is this one of the college tips?  The answer is that yes, college students know that they need to study more and earlier.  But the challenge is with juggling multiple classes and being able to figure out what to do and when to do it.  Add to that temptations from procrastination and social events, and it can be easy to find yourself the night before an exam with a lot of material to study.

This is one of the college tips that simplifies things so that the student has clarity as to what they need to do and when they need to do it.

The Process
A college exam will typically cover a group of chapters.  With this process, you take the number of chapters that an exam will cover, add one to that, and that will equal the minimum number of days that you need to start studying in advance.  From there, on day one you will study the first chapter, on day two you study the second chapter, and so on.  When you get to the last day, you will have studied all the chapters individually on the previous days and now you will review all of the chapters.  For example:

Exam #1 on Friday 3/30
Covering chapters 1 through 4
o    Sunday 3/25: Study Chapter 1
o    Monday 3/26: Study Chapter 2
o    Tuesday 3/27: Study Chapter 3
o    Wednesday 3/28: Study Chapter 4
o    Thursday 3/29: Review chapters 1 through 4

As opposed to cramming where you stay up all night before an exam, with this system you will likely study the least the night before the exam as it should be a review night of information that you already know.  With this process, while your other classmates are staying up all night the night before the exam, you will have an easy night of review and will be able to get plenty of sleep.

Not only is this one of the college tips that will help with the performance on an exam, but it can also make a students life less stressful.


Launch Pad Solutions, LLC helps college students drive academic performance by providing guidance through student coaching.

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This article was published on Monday 02 November, 2009.
Back to main topic: Student Life
College Tip # 1 – Go to class
College Tip # 2 – Taking Notes
College Tip # 3 – Read the Material
College Tip # 5 – Don’t Fall Behind
College Tip # 6 – Get Involved
College Tip # 7 – Exercise
College Tip # 8 – Get a Job
College Tips # 9 – Creating the Right Environment
College Tip # 10 – Balancing Social Activities
Top Ten College Tips
Benefits of Student Coaching
The Return on Investment from Student Coaching

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