High schools put a lot of emphasis on the exams that you have by the end of your school year, whether you are a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior. But the exams that take place at the end of the semester, right before your winter break into the New Year or the long-awaited summer break, are often overlooked, even though they are just as important.
To pass your end of semester exams, you need to study. But how exactly do you study for these exams? Thankfully, we have just a few tips to offer you.
How Do You Prepare for the End of Semester Exam?
An end of the semester exam is the culmination of everything you learned for the class during that semester. Logically, that would mean your entire semester was spent preparing for this exam. Right? Well, not quite.
An end of semester exam is different from the material that you went over in class. For one thing, it is meant to test your practical knowledge of the subject, which can vary depending on the subject.
For example, a laboratory class, typically for those about the various sciences like physics, biology, geology, etc., would have an end of semester exam where you are tested on your understanding of the lab material in a practical way.
These exams are also noticeably different from how exams for other classes, like English or standard science, conduct their exams. Passing these exams requires knowing this in advance.
Studying for your class is, quite obviously, something you should have been doing the whole semester, as you were given pop quizzes and exams based on certain sections of the material. However, even if you were dutifully studying throughout the whole semester, preparing for your final exam is a Herculean effort of its own, though it is by no means impossible. If you want to prepare for your final exam, then you need to understand the class you’re studying for.
The primary thing you should prepare for is how to take the exam as an exam. You should not be just studying through rote memorization. Your teacher could want to test you by throwing examples and questions quite different from what you’ve been going through before. Such a move can trip you up if you are just expected to answer the same questions from the earlier exams.
To prepare, you must actively test yourself on the subject. When you are answering an exam of your own making, there is no fear of failure unless you take not getting a question right on the first try extremely hard. In a safe environment, you can understand what you got wrong, why you got it wrong, what you missed, and what you can improve on. It is also a good way to see what you got right and why; studying isn’t just about getting the answers but getting the wrong answers right.
We will get into the nitty-gritty of how and what to study, but the important thing you should leave here is that studying for the end of semester exam will require different skills and approaches than other exams. If you want to prepare for the exam, remember this!
Now, we get into the good stuff. First, how many hours do you need to study for a final exam?
How Many Hours Should You Study for a Final Exam?
Students typically can’t wait to jump right into studying and do it for as many hours as they think it takes to pass an exam. Alternatively, they dread wasting all their free time reading books and repeating the same questions over and over. Both types of students can now breathe a little easier, because the amount of hours you study, while important, is nowhere near as important as it is to study consistently.
How you spend your study time is more important than how long you study. When preparing for a final exam, you have a lot of ground to cover, and as we mentioned before, studying will take a different approach. Trying to stuff as much knowledge into your head as possible is an excellent way to memorize all that information, but in the end, when you are taking the exam, all you’re going to do is try, and fail, to recall the right answer. This is the best way to lower your performance and get a low grade.
This is not to mention how you will likely have multiple end of semester exams, since you are taking multiple classes. You may blow your brain out trying to study and retain the knowledge of so many different classes!
Studying hours should be short, no more than one or two hours for each subject. Since you have an average of four to five classes in both high school and college, that is a manageable amount of time to study. Doubly so that by the end of the semester, you have fewer to no lectures to attend. All that time you spent in class can now be spent studying for your final exam.
What you need to do the most for your studying is make a schedule—which is a nice segue to the various tips we have in store for you to make for a successful end of semester exam!
5 Study Tips for a Successful End of Semester Exams
In order to get you fully prepared for your upcoming exams and have you pass them with flying colors, we have compiled five key tips for a successful end of semester exam.
Create a Study Schedule
To expand on the previous point, a study schedule is vital for you to get a good rhythm for studying to prepare for the exam. A good study schedule will have you study specific parts of the material for a reasonable amount of time, broken up between breaks so that you allow your brain to digest the information properly and allow you to eat to regain some energy.
Find a Study Group
You’ll find that you are not the only student who needs help in studying for their final exams. If you share the same class, you can all put your heads together to form a study group.
In a study group, you have more feedback from your study partners. With a diverse group of students, you can see how a question can be answered in a way that you couldn’t get alone, which raises your potential for finding the best answer. With a study group, you all can study for an hour in the library and leave with several hours’ worth of new knowledge.
Practice, Practice, Practice
When you get down to studying, regardless of the material, you should practice your ability to find the correct answer. For example, if you are studying math, it would be best to practice answering math questions using the following advice:
- Forget the correct answer.
- Repeat the question with as little help as possible.
- Begin to understand whatever methodology you used to answer the question.
When you have practiced enough, you should be able to answer a question, even if it is in a different format than others, because you understand the subject on a fundamental level.
Take Notes on the Material
Taking notes is a crucial part of studying. Practicing material lets you to see the errors in your methodology and why you got a particular question right or wrong, but taking notes on the material allows you to see the material in your own words.
Through careful and thorough note-taking, you can fully understand what the material is about. After some distance, when you revisit the same material, you come with a much better understanding of what it is about. More importantly, the answer and methods come back to you naturally.
Keep Asking Questions
Applying critical thinking skills and constantly asking yourself questions is more beneficial than how long or how much you study. Even on exam day, when your pencil is precariously hovering over an answer bubble, you should focus the most on why a given answer is correct or incorrect. However, don’t let these second guesses stop you from having the confidence you need to actually answer the questions.
Ask questions like “what is the question asking for?” or “why does this make or not make sense?” Additionally, you can always ask your teachers for help if you need a second opinion. While they won’t give you the exam answers, they will know what would and wouldn’t help you pass the exam, and they can always help you where you are struggling the most.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study for End of Semester Exams?
As your semester comes to a close, your teachers will expect the most of you in terms of results. But with the tips and instructions we have given you, you should know how to study for end of semester exams, and you will be able to move on to your winter and summer break without a care in the world! Study for these exams with great gusto and fervor.