The preparation process for any exam can be quite difficult. There are many techniques for studying, and in this article I'll try to explain what you should do to get the most out of your studying time.
Find the motivation
This is the key when you start doing your preparation process for your exam. If you aren't motivated, your mind will wander and you'll be staring at one page for one hour before you notice you haven't learned anything yet.
To get this motivation, you must aim for a high mark at the exam. If you just want to get a "Passed exam" you will probably study less and ultimately fail. If you aim for an 8 (I'm going to use the 1-10 scale since there are so many!) you will be more motivated (since it's an above-average score), you'll study more and even if things don't go as well as you wanted you will still probably pass.
Find a good place to study
This is absolutely crucial. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to find a quiet, comfortable studying place.
Many people can't study at home and with a good reason: most of tthe time they live with other people (family, friends...) so there are always interruptions, noise and a general sense of not being able to concentrate.
The obvious place to study is the library. Yes, it's a classic choice but it continues to be the best place for your exam preparation process. There is complete silence, comfortable chairs, lots of studying material (books, scientific magazines...) and most of all: other students! If you see many other people studying it's much easier to study yourself since it conveys a sense of "not being alone" which is very helpful for long sessions.
Be very careful though if you study at your university or college and you know people there, because you will certainly get interrrupted. It's better to study alone (although it's more boring) at an "anonymous library".
A final piece of advice: don't study and listen to music at the same time! Many people claim that they can do it and that it even helps them so they are not so easily bored, but the truth is that it gets around 30-40% of your "brain attention" - reducing quite a lot your studying effectiveness.
Get good, concise studying material
This is quite an obvious one too, but it's important that you have good and easy-to-understand studying material for your exam preparation process.
This should include :
-Your own handwritten notes (if you aren't good a it ask for a "nerdy" friend to lend it to you!)
-The omniscient Internet: all the information you ever wanted a few clicks away!
-A few good books: You definitely should't study from the books or the Internet itself but instead use it to learn more about some particular interesting subject.
Don't be afraid to talk to the teacher if there is something that you don't undesrtand, they usually love the fact that you are showing interest and they will certainly help you as much as they can. Prepare a piece of paper beforehand with all your questions (don't be afraid to ask "stupid questions" either, remember the teacher is there to help you)! and calmly go through them with your teacher.
Make a Schedule
This can be quite difficult because at first you feel that your day is somehow "restricted", but in the end it's much better to clearly define your studying hours and separate them from your breaks and relaxation time.
This way you'll find it much easier to study for 4 straight hours for example, since you know that when you've done it you can go home and watch your favourite TV show or even go out with your friends without remorse.
You'll also have a nice sense of accomplishment and you'll know that you've "done the right thing".
The Exam Day
The big day has come.
You'll certainly feel quite nervous but don't think that's really such a bad thing. A moderate amount of adrenaline will improve your cognitive abilities (meaning you can essentially think faster!) and you may even over-perform in the exam if you are lucky!
If you get too nervous it can really be very harmful though, so be careful. Take deep breaths and try to relax. everything will be ok.
When doing the exam, people who are good at visual memory make a mental image of the page of the book and try to "read" the page from their mind). This is a very effective strategy!
If you don't have visual memory try to remember everything you've learned (it doesn't have to be exactly like in the book, just make the concept clear!) and calmy write it down.
The Scores Day
Before looking at the score, always think that you have done everything you could in the exam preparation process and that it isn't the end of the world if you finally fail. There are usually more oportunities and each failure makes us stronger, wiser and more capable.
In fact, I think that life isn't about how many times you fall, it's about how many times you manage get up!
You you pass, congratulations! You can sure be proud of your accomplishment ;)