In this article, we have collected a few tips for you so that you can approach your exam preparation correctly and not get into trouble on your next exam. Here are some study mistakes you're better off not making - they could be your last!
You Only Memorize
For many students, "learning" in exam preparation means nothing more than "learning by heart". The material is summarized and then repeated word for word until everything is stored perfectly.
This approach is particularly widespread when time is tight, or the content is not fully understood. I used to do it myself in the past and pulled the most boring stuff over and over again until everything was perfect. True to the motto: " I'll just learn it by heart now."
Unfortunately, learning by heart does not bring you lasting success and is rather a kind of interim solution as a guarantee of success for a good exam result. If you don't understand your course content and your learning is limited to simple reproduction, you will have difficulties in the exam at the latest when it comes to transferring tasks or new problems.
Of course, learning by heart is always a part of it: You just have to remember some technical terms, vocabulary, formulas, or names. But that's not what I mean. What I mean is: Don't just limit yourself to memorization. You have to understand what you are learning. Also, if you would need to spare some time for the final preparation you might consider reaching out to a paper writer to complete your other written assignments.
Not Seeing The Big Picture
Your exam preparation is complex. Lecture slides, scripts, textbooks, and exercise documents. You have to think of 1,000 things and put these little pieces in the right context. But that's where many students fail!
The problem is not always the amount of content, but rather the correct classification and focus. When preparing for your exam, it is important that you always keep an overview and have a clear view of the big picture.
So don't get lost in details and details when learning, but always keep in mind what your module is actually about. Ask yourself:
- Which problem do you want to solve?
- What was the original question?
- What am I working towards?
- What is the generic term for this topic?
- What's next?
Don't get confused and keep track of your learning material. Pay attention to structure.
You Only Learn Your Summary
Your summary is a key part of your exam preparation. Before you can really start learning, write a summary and highlight the most important content from your lecture. After all, you can't learn everything.
In principle, there is nothing wrong with this tactic. The procedure is efficient and, if you do it right, narrows down the material so cleverly that you greatly increase your chances of succeeding in the exam.
But only if you do it right! Writing a good summary is an art. If you compress the material from an entire semester onto a few pages, important information is often lost. And that can end badly in the exam. Therefore, when preparing for your exam, do not limit yourself to just your summary. Look through the complete learning materials several times and use your summary more for help and orientation.
You Work In Too Much Detail
But it also works the other way around: If you concentrate on every detail while studying and get involved with every little thing, it won’t really do you much good for your exam either. Do not work too superficially, but also not too detailed!
It is not necessary that you read every original source or be able to derive all the formulas. You have to focus on the essential points and set wise priorities.
You're Setting The Wrong Priorities
In order for you to be able to do all the work, you have to set priorities and set the right focal points! So, you have to find out which content in your modules is important and which areas you can rather neglect.
It is best to look at old exams and talk to your fellow students or directly to your lecturers. (Perhaps you can dust off a tip or two and find out which content is relevant to the exam, and which is not.) Over time, you will also get a sense of what is important in the lecture, and what is important to your examiners.
By the way: setting priorities have nothing to do with laziness, but is a sign of intelligence and organizational talent.