Every first-year student feels clueless about what they should study for the exams, so they study everything they can find so they won’t lose marks for missing anything, because of this they feel overwhelmed and helpless and feel that they cannot finish everything on time. Even when they somehow manage to go through everything, there always seems to be something they cannot remember. As any high GPA ranking student would testify, studying everything would only help you get around 70’s, but if you want to reach that 85+ mark you should do something different. Here are 3 steps that you should follow to get that high grade especially if you are following a science course such as biology or physical which involves a lot of memorization.
Always consult the syllabus before studying
The art of blindly studying without paying any attention to what is said on the syllabus is not a good method if you want to get good grades for the exam, the syllabus is basically a map to getting good grades, it tells you what topics are covered, what readings and chapters should be covered before the exam, whether the exam is cumulative or not and if you are lucky it might even tell you what will be emphasised on the exam.
You should create a file, preferably an excel file categorizing what readings and chapters should be covered within each week. By doing this, it will provide a quick visual representation of the thing that needed to be covered. Which will ease your workload and make that feeling of helplessness disappear.
Always begin your studies with lecture notes
Studying through the lecture notes will give you an insight to the professor creating the exam since the lecture creating notes will be the same person creating exam and the main source of his/her information when creating the exam are the lecture notes. Therefore, mastering the lecture notes is a must and 70% of your time should be dedicated towards that unless stated otherwise by the professor.
Another reason is that the amount of material will be less than the textbook and will be very specific, this will provide you with a solid foundation as well as help you gain a vast amount of important information within a relatively short time duration.
Go to the professor during office hours and ask the professor what to study
Although it may be true that some professors are not willing to give extra details about the exam, you have nothing to lose by asking them anyway and if they are willing you should follow up by using these questions.
- Should the emphasis be given more on readings or lectures?
- The format of the exam
- How detailed are the questions on the readings?
- Do you have any sample MCQ’s?
And if they say that they don’t want to give any information regarding the exam, ask them, “If you were a student, how would you study to get an A in the exam?” Asking this question will give you some invaluable advice on what to do.