Preparing for a professional exam is hard work, and it takes focus and determination to navigate the process successfully. But as stressful as it may feel at times, it doesn’t have to be – at least not if you start the process with the right tools at hand.
If you’re preparing for a big test, then, stay open to new strategies and be creative. By thinking outside the box and learning new study strategies, you might be surprised how much you can learn.
Have A Plan
Being creative with your study strategies is smart and can make test prep a lot more fun, but before you start to explore the material, you need to have a plan. Take a look at your calendar and make a plan for exam day – look at how much time you have, map out a study schedule, and figure out when you’ll study each day. You’ll have an easier time focusing on the task at hand if you know exactly what lies in front of you.
In addition to developing a plan, you also need to make sure you have all the necessary materials to study efficiently. Invest in a proven test prep program that can act as the foundation of your study strategy, and then apply your own approaches to the material.
Make It Fun
One of the leading practices in education today, as well as in many aspects of workplace management, is gamification, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: using aspects of game play to encourage engagement. And even though our study materials may not be based on gamification principles, you can certainly introduce these ideas yourself. Pit the letters of your multiple-choice answers against each other in a race, or find a fun way to play with your to do list so that study sessions are more rewarding.
Use Your Sleep Schedule
There’s a lot of advice out there about not studying in bed because it’s bad for your focus and sleep hygiene, but not studying in bed and studying when you’re sleepy are two totally different things, and you might be surprised just how effective the latter is.
Studying before bed can work to your advantage because, while we’re sleeping, our brains process and consolidate information. This is why you may suffer memory lapses when you’re sleep deprived – it’s not so much that you’re tired, but that your brain isn’t getting the opportunity to process new information. By studying before bed, though, you ensure new information is fresh in your mind and ready to be filed away in your memory.
Talk It Out
People talk a lot about learning styles, especially when working with younger students, but engaging multiple sensory pathways when studying new material can help everyone. Even if you don’t want to record your lessons so you can listen to them, then, try reading the material out loud so that you see it, hear it, and call on your brain’s motor centers in generating speech.
Everyone benefits from different study strategies, so don’t give up on new approaches after a single attempt. Instead, keep an open mind and a positive attitude throughout the process, and don’t be afraid to explore new approaches as they occur. Even if you decide not to stick with a particular study strategy, you’ll have engaged the material in the process, and that’s the ultimate goal.