Preparing for your first college exams

College is definitely high school on steroids, and that means you have to step up your game in the classroom. Luckily, the professors here at the University of North Florida are dedicated to helping you succeed. As you look ahead to your end of semester of exams, keep these simple tips in mind to do your very best.

  1. It all starts in the classroom

For most college professors, anything mentioned in class is fair game for the exam. So attending every class is going to be critical to your success on the exams. They will usually even give you a heads up if something they discuss will be on the test later, which is always nice. Being in class and participating in the discussions will help build your knowledge throughout the semester as well. Every pop quiz, group debate and questions your classmates ask will help you gain a deeper understanding of the topics and be more likely to retain the information come exam time.

  1. Use your syllabus as a map

Losing your syllabus before the first exam is a big mistake. The syllabus is your road map for the course and can help you keep information organized as you receive it. The syllabus will likely outline what information is on the exam as well. You don’t want to get stuck studying for chapters that won’t even be on the test. Don’t be afraid to make notes for yourself throughout the semester on the syllabus. You can highlight the chapters that you found the most difficult and need to study more or star the chapters that will show up heavily on the exam.

  1. Keep everything!

Everything you do in class will help you come exam time. Keep all quizzes, vocabulary tests and any other assignments; it’s likely this information will appear again. Notes will be the key too! And not just the doodles you make in the margins. Take notes during important lectures or write the key points from PowerPoints discussed and review before the test.

  1. Know how you learn

Everyone is different and unique in the way they learn information best. Do what works well for you. If you learn by making 400 notecards, then do that! If you learn by rereading the chapters, start there. Some people can learn well with a group, some people need absolute silence. Find your sweet spot and stick to it. Don’t be swayed by friends inviting you to group study if you know you won’t get anything done. Your college exams are too important to be worried about blowing off your friends for a few hours.

  1. Relax

Exams can be stressful, yes, but if you plan ahead and stay organized you’ll get through it with ease. You may even find you retain more if you aren’t freaking out the whole time too! Be sure to get a full night’s sleep the day before and eat a good meal before to fuel your brain. Remember, you are smarter and stronger than you think you are. Trust yourself.

Remember that your professors are your allies. Ask questions in class, go to office hours and be engaged. They are there to help you, but only if you put in the effort to help yourself first. Contact One-Stop Student Services if you need assistance

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