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Sorting and planning – the essence of exam preparation

The learning material for the exam preparation can almost overwhelm you at first glance, but if it is viewed, organized, and timed correctly, it is only half as bad, I promise!

Pick out the important content

Nobody can learn everything and doesn’t have to. The content that accumulates within a semester cannot all be covered in an exam. So how do I choose? First of all, of course, you have to collect and view all the notes, slides, etc. from the course. Then what your lecturer said about the content of the exam is crucial. It won’t do you any harm if you ask again if there isn’t a selection yet. Of course, your experience and intuition also count as to what relevant exam topics are. Once you’ve delineated them, you can break them down further and learn bit by bit, topic by topic.

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Remember better with summaries

So that you can remember as much learning material as possible, you not only need summaries of them in your head, you should also write them down if possible. This forces you to get to the heart of the issues and see how they are related. To visualise this, you can, for example, draw mind maps or create them on the computer. If you also address the sense of hearing, the memory will also deepen. For example, you can simply record audio recordings of your summaries on your cell phone and listen to them, again and again, to prepare for the exams.

The main factor of exam preparation: The study plan

To avoid panic and last-minute study, there is only one solution: you have to create a study plan that makes sense. While creating a study plan may sound more involved than just getting started, it ultimately gives you more free time. Because that way you can plan breaks and free time very precisely and then don’t neglect them even in the hot phase of exam preparation. Once you have an overview of all the content, its importance, and level of difficulty, you can simply see how much time is left, what you want to achieve in a week, and on which days you can learn. At the daily level, you can divide your time into everyday time (for all duties in addition to studying, e.g. part-time job), study time, and free time.

Remember more with the right learning technique

You’ve probably heard that there are different types of learners. In general, a distinction is made between four types: the visual, the auditory, the haptic (also kinesthetic), and the communicative learning type. According to this, different people can remember content better in different ways, i.e. through viewing, buy assignment online listening, practical application, or exchange with others. Once you have found out which type of learner you belong to (usually mixed forms), you can simplify and optimize your learning behavior for the exam preparation. The following learning techniques are among the best known and most popular:

  • Repetition: A technique that you have intuitively used countless times is to repeatedly read and mentally go through the learning material. The goal here is that knowledge moves from short to long-term memory.
  • Lists: Even simply creating lists can help you structure your learning material. At the beginning of the exam preparation, you get an overview of the many different contents if you write them down in bullet points.
  • Visualization: If you try to imagine and remember pictures of learning content, you can recall them later more easily with these contexts. Organization charts or mind maps also help as visualization methods of more complex relationships.
  • Flashcards: The classic way to learn vocabulary and definitions: Every card you can slide down in the flashcard. At the front are those that are still to be learned. So you always have an overview of your progress in exam preparation.
  • Memory Palace: With this method, you mentally build a building from your learning material. In the exam, you can then mentally walk through the building and remember the contents in their larger context.
  • SQ3R technique (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review): This method makes it particularly easy to understand and learn texts. First, take a look at the table of contents and headings. Then you think about what the text could be about and write down any questions you have. When reading, you mark important passages and write summaries of the individual sections of the text.
  • Loci method: With this technique, known locations are mentally linked to learning content. For example, if you have to memorize a certain order to prepare for an exam, you can walk along a route in your mind. You then assign specific information to the points that you pass. In the exam situation, you can walk along the path in your mind and see the information in front of your inner eye as waypoints.
  • ABC technique: The letters of the alphabet determine the structure. You assign each letter to a specific picture with the first letter. For example, if you want to remember the French word “arbore” for the tree, you think of “A” like “maple leaf” and imagine an “arbore” with maple leaves

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