To prepare for an exam, you as a student have to start early. If you have been keeping up on a daily and weekly basis, you must be in good shape. It is easier when it comes to getting serious about preparing for an exam.
As to how to go about it, the first thing you need is a plan. Start with the day one week before the exam. That is the first day to start studying in earnest. Plan out how many hours you will spend each day studying until the exam. Make a schedule and stick to it. Be sure to leave time for group study or review sessions.
The second thing is to outline the material you need to study. This helps to develop a big-picture overview of the material. Start with big topics and leave room for subtopics. Fill in the information as best as you can. Get another sheet of paper and start over if necessary. Once you see all the units of information in front of you, it will be easier to organise your studying.
It helps to break up the material into parts and cover a little each day. Only once you understand each one, should you move on to the next topic. Do this part alone in your quiet study place. If you need to, memorize the information as much as you can.
Later, if you prefer, work with others, go to review sessions, or see a tutor. At this point, it is important to make sure that everything is clearly understood. If this step is skipped, you are left with trying to memorize hundreds of useless factoids. It will never mean anything to you later. Having done that, it is time to put the information into your brain for retrieval. If you have been working all along, you will already remember, much of it. Make sure that nothing is left out.
To find out if you understand what you have been studying, try working with someone else who will ask you questions about the material. If you can answer and explain concepts without too much effort then you are prepared. Usually, doing this will expose areas that require more attention and study.
If you planned well and kept up with the work there should be little anxiety the night before an exam. If you started late or waited to get questions answered, then you will be busy the night before. This will add extra stress and you are likely to make stupid errors in the exam.
On the night before the exam, make sure you get eight hours of sleep. Though some believe pulling an all-nighter to cram information is a good idea, it really is not at all.
On the morning of the exam, wake up about thirty minutes earlier so that you can do a quick refresher of some of the main points from your exam review. These last thirty minutes keep the information fresh in your mind without wearing you out. Eat a full breakfast of healthy food. You need to be healthy and alert to do your exam well. Make sure you arrive early so that you are not rushing around right before the exam starts.
By following these guidelines, you are better prepared for an exam. You will feel more confident and in control When you feel as such, you are more likely to do better in the exam.