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RYERSON UNIVERSITY LEARNING SUCCESS CENTRE How to Organize for Final Exams 1.

Find out whether the exam is on the entire course or only on material covered since the last term quiz. 2. Determine the test format. Test formats include short answer and essay exams, multiple choice, true-false, problem solving, open book, takehome. Knowing the exam format will help you determine how much detail you will be expected to know. 3. Determine the types of questions—definitions? labelling diagrams? applying theory to real-life situations? comparisons? 4. Determine the sources of questions. Sources can include the main concepts/ideas or the learning objectives listed in the course outline, lectures, the course textbook, assignments, other texts or recommended sources 5. Use as many learning resources as possible (lectures, assigned readings, teacher-prepared notes and exercises, extra questions in the text, study guides, other textbooks, assigned homework, seminar or group discussions, essays and major projects, labs, old tests and exams). Organize material by putting related information together. 6. Determine how to devote your study time. First make a study topic list or guide of what you think might be on each exam. List the topics that you understand well and therefore need only review. Next, list the topics you are unsure of and that you’ll have to work on in order to understand. Estimate the time you will need for review and comprehension and divide this time into study sessions. 7. Organize a weekly study schedule. Determine the date for each exam and count back to when you can begin studying in earnest. Start early enough that you don’t have to cram. Break each course down into study sections and allocate times for these study sections in your weekly schedules. Leave time right before the exam open for one final review. If you do not have much time left before exams, you may have to give priority to studying courses that are core, prerequisite, cumulative, quantitative, difficult, or heavy. Be prepared to adjust the schedule as you need to—but have a plan. 8. Clear away major distractions during exam prep time. Don’t plan to watch favourite tv shows or frequent your usual social haunts. Don’t do other activities that compete for brain space. As well, advise family and friends that you will not be available to them during exam prep time. 9. Maintain as regular a schedule as possible (e.g., sleeping and eating at regular times and getting some exercise). If you need extra time to study, go to bed at the regular time because you won’t study efficiently when you are tired. Get up earlier the next morning to continue studying. You’ll remember more because you will be rested.