Tips for Exam Prep

Lilly Maple

Although no one wants to hear this just yet, exams are approaching faster than you may realize. One of the most difficult times of the year is the end of semester exams, but there are ways to curb some of the stress. Taking a proactive approach to exam prep is the best way to tackle the inevitable end-of-year laziness.


  1. Start early: getting a head start on exam preparation will save you from last-minute cramming and all-nighters before the day of the test. Reviewing material early helps information to absorb better and helps you have a clearer, long-term understanding.
  2. Organize your notes: Maybe you didn’t do so well on a test earlier this semester, or bombed a quiz you forgot you had. Look back at previous assessments and review the material that didn’t click with your understanding the first time. Also, moving each subject or section into a separate folder will help when the time comes to look over each topic in depth.
  3. Get help from your teacher: If you find yourself still confused, going after school to ask any outstanding questions that you can resolve in order to make studying go a little smoother
  4. Use a mobile study app: There are many apps that can be used to review anytime. Online flashcards and review games are helpful ways to refresh your memory while you’re eating lunch, waiting in line, or during commercials while you watch tv.
  5. Create a study space: If you don’t already have one, make a quiet, peaceful place to store your study materials and review your notes. Having a clean space to spread out your textbooks makes organizing your thoughts much easier.
  6. Retake old assessments: Redo past tests and quizzes to get back into the zone of test-taking. Also, it is likely that some teachers with reuse similar questions or important topics on the final exam.
  7. Make a study group: Studying in groups is a great way to practice explaining and discussing thoughts. Exchanging ideas with others is great for preparing points for essays, making timelines, and working through tough problems.
  8. Attend study sessions: Many teachers at CCES offer review sessions at lunch and E period that students are encouraged to attend. Especially with AP and IB exams, there may be forgotten topics from first semester that study sessions should remind you of as well as bring up important themes and messages that were touched on throughout the year.
  9. Take breaks: Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the stress of studying, but it is just as important to allow yourself to take time to breathe. After finishing study sessions, reward yourself with time to watch tv, have a snack, or go outside for fresh air.
  10. Don’t stress: Although it may be easier said than done, remember that one test score does not define you or your abilities. A good test score is a great way to boost your confidence, but it is important to keep in mind that test taking is not everyone’s biggest strength. Th important part is to really learn the material and to be proud of the hard work you’ve put in all year.


Exam weeks are a stressful time for everyone, but taking a proactive approach can save you from dealing with unnecessary stress and can save your grades.