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As someone who had to take tests throughout many years of school (college and four years of post college, to be exact!) I’d like to share with you all some tips I learned along the way.

Before hitting the books in panic, consider these ways to help your finals and test studying go efficiently and smoothly.

  1. Review Problems and Past Exams 
    Make sure to familiarize yourself with past homework problems and especially past exams, if you have access to them. In my experience, teachers rarely deviate from topics covered on homework and past exams. After all, they picked the assigned problems and made the exam problems themselves! Additionally, for the teacher it’s more work to create completely new problems than to use similar ones to those that were used/given before. So review review review!

  2. Take Advantage of Office Hours 
    Don’t understand a problem, and none of your friends either? Make sure that you don’t overlook office hours. Sure, it’s a pain to drag yourself out of the house and takes extra scheduling, but you’ll be thankful you went. Your teacher/professor will be available to not only answer questions you may be stuck on, but you can also glean wisdom from other students who may have good questions that you didn’t consider yourself.

  3. Practice Practice! 
    It’s true what they say: practice makes perfect! Practice not only familiarizes you with the problems, but helps you see your weak spots as you encounter problems in different contexts and that are varied from each other. Additionally, come test day, practice helps you breeze through the test quickly and in turn have extra time to double check your answers. Double bonus!

  4. Pay Attention 
    Lastly, nothing (not even a tutor!) can substitute for not having paid attention the entire semester in class. The optimal way for retention so you’re not stuck cramming the night before is having been faithfully absorbing and learning the material throughout the semester. And, if you have any questions, you can ask the teacher as they come up, or get extra help from a tutor.

Strive to keep all these habits to ace your exam, stress-free!