How to Study for Exams

Finals season is coming! We know, probably not your favorite time of year. Finals, or any other exams you might be taking, can get stressful, especially for more challenging classes. Don’t worry – Swoop is here to help. Here are five tried and true methods of studying for exams:

  1. Know What You’re Studying: The first step to studying is to know what you’ll need to know. This means that if you’re not sure what you’re going to be tested on, that’s the first thing you should figure out. This could mean asking a teacher, reviewing the class syllabus, or even asking an older student who has already taken the class what you should expect. Once you know what you need to study, you’ll be ready to actually get into it.
  2. Outlines: If you’re reading a difficult text that you know you’ll need for an exam, try to make an outline of it after you’ve read it without looking at the actual text. If it’s a long piece, you might want to try making multiple outlines – one for each section, and then one for the whole text. This will not only help you remember the main points of the text, but will also allow you to quiz yourself on details from different parts of your outline.
  3. Summaries: Similar to outlines, summaries involve you taking a longer piece of work and condensing it into a more readable length. The difference between the summaries and outlines, however, is that while an outline may be a bulleted list or involve multiple headings and subpoints, a summary is one concise paragraph. Writing a summary allows you to test your knowledge, and if you need to look back for a detail from one chapter or section of a long book, making a summary for each section beforehand will allow you to more easily figure out where that detail may be hidden.
  4. Flash Cards: Flash cards are a very common and traditional method of studying, and while it may sound cliché, that’s because they work! We recommend writing your flashcards by hand, as that in itself will help to ingrain the information into your mind. However, if physical flashcards are not an option for you, there are a ton of online options as well, such as Quizlet or Brainscape. 
  5. Active Reading: Whether you’re studying with a math, history, science, English, or any other book, active reading is a great way to remember all your facts. We’ve written a blog on this tactic before (“How to Be an Active Reader”), but here are the basics. Active reading means marking up, making connections, and often reading your text multiple times. This method is a great help for any subject matter, and although it may seem time-consuming, it will actually save you time in the long run. 

We hope that these tips will help you tackle finals and other exams successfully. Good luck!