Helpful Ways to Prepare for Exams

Photo Credit: Anne Marie Smith

Sara Molina – Staff Writer

ACE Center’s Writing Learning Specialist, Anne Marie Smith, held a Study Skills Workshop via zoom last Tuesday and Wednesday. The workshop focused on exam preparation.

Smith explained that preparing for the exam begins before class. Remember to complete assignments, read the assigned text, and be well-rested and fed before class.

While in class take helpful notes and be engaged. After class, review the material within a day.  Smith described the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, a diagram showing lost information over time, and the importance of reviewing.

“At day 0 you’re reading the chapter.  The next day you go to lecture, then the next day you do your 24-hour review and another 24-hour review after that. With each exposure the brain is able to retain a higher percentage of the information,” said Smith.

Smith additionally recognized ways to reduce anxiety while studying; involve frequent breaks, switch subjects, be rested and fed, plan rewards.

“As soon as you get [your work] done, go do something fun. Reward yourself. Then your anxiety will be lessened because you have something fun coming.”

The Exam Prep concluded with tips on how to be a better test taker:

  • Take the liberty to write information in the margins before beginning
  • Develop a plan
  • Read directions carefully
  • For multiple choice, read all answers
  • Don’t depend on patterns
  • For short answers and essays, don’t leave questions blank
  • Consider the audience
  • Budget time
  • Review at the end
Photo Credit: Ace Center

The ACE Center will hold a Study Skills Workshop every Tuesday and Wednesday and the link may be found here

The ACE Center will also host a Successful Student Panel featuring a Q&A of students and alumni on their habits and strategies.  Seniors are encouraged to volunteer, contact the ACE Center at or call 630-829-6041.