Lifehacks For Preparing For Your Next Exam

In order to better prepare for your next exam, I suggest you do the following:

First, work through end-of-chapter problems. You need to try to do the problems without any help from a classmate, the textbook, the answers, or anything: as uncomfortable as this will be, it will show you what you don’t understand.

Second, make sure you’re actually studying when you sit down to study. If you’re surrounded by noise and distractions, you’re sabotaging yourself. Turn off your phone, find a quiet corner of the library, take out your headphones, enjoy the silence, and get to work. I expect you will accomplish more in thirty minutes of really focused effort than in an hour of distraction-addled “studying” with a group of talkative friends. Cal Newport advises that you actually practice concentration.

Third, review how you’re taking notes. I recommend that you use the Cornell note-taking method. Divide your page into three spaces: a column down the side (the margin), a large space taking up most of the page, and a third space consisting of a few lines at the bottom. Don’t try to copy everything you see on a whiteboard or PowerPoint slide, and don’t try to transcribe everything I say. You’re taking notes, not working as a stenographer.

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