Getting prepared for a test requires a lot of effort, concentration and
practice. From a school going kid to an adult aspiring for a bigger
career, a test is a big challenge to face. Learn some motivational tips
here that make your test preparation easy for you.
Learn from the past
Get motivated to begin test preparation early by reflecting on past
examination failures that resulted from postponement.
Use motivational posters
Make a poster of what you want to achieve in the exam and paste it in
front of your study table. Looking at it will motivate you to continue
preparing. The main idea is to keep your target in mind all the time.
Use time wisely
Question yourself if it’s wiser for you to prepare for the examination at
that moment and get a good result or rather while away the limited
time and fare poorly in the exam. The answer might motivate you.
Remind yourself that every half-hour or hour spent studying well
before the test is one or two more correct answers. And remind
yourself that the more preparation completed ahead of time, the less
to worry about, the night before the test and the less to do to prepare
for comprehensive finals.

Short and long-term goals
Reflect on your short-term and long-term goals that may be fulfilled by
passing the test.
Use relaxation techniques
Before leaving for the test or while walking to the room, listen to your
favorite song or practice meditation for inspiration or read any inspiring
quotes in order to get your blood flowing. This would get you
motivated and will prevent you from hearing negative comments from
poorly prepared classmates.
Confidence can greatly reduce feelings of anxiety because if one
believes he/she will do well, he/she probably will. Over preparation for
the exam is a good way to improve confidence. Know the information
“backwards and forwards” and be sure of your understanding. Take
self-tests or have another student quiz you to prove to yourself that
you’ve mastered the material. Knowing the test taking skills often helps
students to gain confidence because they know how to respond to
different and possibly unexpected, exam requirements. Try not to
think about what the best student in the class is doing to prepare for
the exam; concentrate on yours.
Study groups
Study groups, a form of cooperative learning, are an effective approach
to exam preparation. Preparing for a test with two to four other
students has several benefits. Because several people share the work,
more can be accomplished in a shorter period of time. Study groups
allow students to share ideas and explanations of key points and also
provide a form of pre-test evaluation, with students quizzing each other
on the exam material. When well run, study groups can also reduce
exam anxiety and improve motivation. Study groups are particularly

useful for comprehensive test preparation and to prepare for tests in a
number of ways, such as reading and taking notes from the textbook,
reviewing, reorganizing, or recopying class notes, making up and
answering practice questions, reorganizing information using outlines,
tables, lists, and visual aids and sharing memory strategies.
Study guides
Study guides are used to summarize the main ideas and concepts,
without the supporting details, to be covered on an exam and they
guide the way one studies. By reducing the information to be learned to
a minimum, to the most inclusive topics, study guides identify the
major focal areas of the test that should be examined thoroughly and
allow one to effectively budget study time on the various topics.
The additional advantages of study guides for test preparation include
reviewing of class notes and enhancement of memory registration and
The organization of the information on the study guide will vary
according to the type of information, the subject, the type of test, and
personal learning styles. Two organizational approaches, topical and
categorical, are better for subjective essay exams and for objective
tests respectively.
Topical Study Guides
Topical study guides arrange the important information by major topics
and the main ideas covered in each of the topics. This information is
then organized into a structured format and thereby avoids excessive
Categorical Study Guides
Categorical study guides arrange information according to the type or
category of information like terms, people’s names, symbols, formulas,

concepts, dates, etc. Subsequently predictions are made about specific
pieces of information that are likely to occur in each test.
Organization of information
Organizing information makes it easier to register in and recall from
memory the material. It also provides a structure for answering test
questions, especially for essay exams. So prior to the test, put the
material to be learned and remembered into a format that one can
relate to and remember. Students have a wide range of organizational
strategies (formats) from which to choose: visual aids or graphic
Organizers, time lines, flow charts, word maps and outlines. The
formats used will depend on individual learning styles, the nature of the
information (e.g. is it science, history, arts? Is it concepts, numbers,
people?), and the type of test questions (e.g. essay, multiple choice,
Color Coding
Color coding is another helpful organizational tool for test preparation.
One of the most common applications of color coding is using
highlighters to prioritize information. This involves marking the most
important ideas to be remembered from the notes and readings. The
key to making highlighting effective is to be very selective in what is
marked. Focus on the main ideas and the key words of definitions and
Another use of color coding is to categorize information. Ideas related
to one topic may be coded with one color, and ideas related to another
topic in a second color. This helps one to distinguish relationships
among separate pieces of information. Or, all terms may be marked in
one color, all names of significant people in another color, all dates in
another color, and so on.
Restructure your notes

Recopying and reorganizing notes aids in exam preparation in three
ways. First, it helps students identify main points and supporting details
discussed in class. Second, it helps students structure the information in
such a way that it is more easily recalled and organized during the test;
this is especially important for essay exams. Third, it provides the
student with opportunities for reviewing the test material; the more
times one goes over the information, the more likely one is to
remember it.
Memorization strategies
Every test necessitates memorization to some extent. Tests in lower
classes are often designed to evaluate the students’ ability to
remember details and concepts. Tests in advanced courses, on the
other hand, may require more interpretation and application than
memorization. Some of the main points related to test preparation are
outlined here.
Paraphrase the information
Paraphrasing involves restating the information from the notes or
reading in one’s own words. It is easier to remember one’s own words
than someone else’s. Just be sure that the paraphrased information is
accurate and contains the key words necessary for understanding the
Focus on key words
The key words are those words that are necessary for understanding
the term or concept. Underline or highlight these words and focus on
them when studying. This reduces the amount of information to be
remembered. Identifying and memorizing the key words while learning
definitions of vocabulary terms or explanations of concepts, helps a lot.
Use memory techniques

Select memory techniques appropriate for the information, the type of
test, and personal learning preferences. Some memory techniques are
outlined below.
Associate the new information with prior knowledge and experiences
Go over the information repeatedly, reciting aloud or taking notes
Consider how the information is related to personal beliefs and
experiences or to other aspects of the course
Use abbreviated words or phrases to remember lists of information
Group ideas according to common characteristics
Practice tests and workbooks
The most proven, yet least used, way to study for exams is practice
tests. Sample questions allow one to assess one’s retrieval success
before the exam; areas of weakness are identified and addressed prior
to taking the actual test. Students may make up their own questions, or
they may answer questions on old tests or in the textbook or student
workbook accompanying the text.
Practice tests have many benefits. This strategy may be used to prepare
for nearly any type of test. They help one to anticipate what the test
may look like, reducing anxiety and stress. Practice tests are a valuable
way to assess one understands of the information, distinguishing what
is known and what needs to be learned. Writing one’s own questions
requires that one thoroughly understand and evaluate the information.

When used effectively, practice tests improve one’s mental preparation
for an exam, sustaining confidence and positive attitudes.
Finally, writing and/or answering practice questions forces one to
repeatedly review the material, which enhances memory registration
and recall. Some students may complain that making up and/or
answering practice questions is time consuming. However, the
advantages of the strategy greatly outnumber the disadvantages. If
time is a concern, students may form study groups for sharing the
responsibility. Each member writes some questions, and the group
meets to exchange and answer the questions.
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