Effective Studies – 10. Before the Exam

I have gathered my best advice on how to study in this series of blog posts – Effective Studies.

Before the Exam

Preparing for the exam is often a stressful time. The important part is to learn to recognize when you know a topic and can continue with the next or when you have to study more.

Old exams

It is always a great idea to do old exams. Firstly, you get familiar with the structure of the exam and what kind of questions are asked. Secondly, exams cover the most important parts of the course. Hence, by doing old exams, you learn what’s important.

Summarize with a Mindmap

Summarizing the course is a great way to get an overview of everything included. I have always done a mindmap that includes all parts of the course and some brief explanations for each topic. When doing the mindmap, I quickly realize if there is any topic that I can’t explain, then I need to study that one more. Also, comparing my mindmap with the lecture notes shows me any topic I have missed altogether.


You can never discuss enough with your friends. The more, the better! Explaining to others is a great way to learn a topic. Additionally, you quickly realize what you can’t explain and need to study more. My friends and I always create a summary of the course together, which we then discuss. The aim of a “before the exam” discussion is to scrutinize every part of the course. For us, these discussions could take days. But when we were done, we felt confident about the course.


Make sure that you get enough rest the day before the exam. Go to bed early and take a break from studying. The concept of “panic studying” during breakfast is not a good plan. Don’t have this routine in your normal exam preparations. I have always had as a rule that I should be done with exam preparations 24 hours before the exam starts. That is enough time to give the brain some rest and let everything you have learned sink in, but not so long that you start to forget anything.

Contents of this blog post series:

  1. Put your cellphone away
  2. Create a study place
  3. Prepare for a lecture
  4. Take notes during the lectures
  5. Summarize lectures
  6. Read the book
  7. Do exercises
  8. Keep concentration
  9. Do time management with units
  10. Prepare for the exam
  11. Do the exam
  12. Evaluation after the exam

Thoughts or questions? –  contact me.
Good luck with your studies!


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