13 Tips on How to Pass Any Exam in a Week

We all know that the vast majority of successful students get to the top by applying some simple but effective study strategies.

And here’s the key:

Getting ready for your exam efficiently comes from learning how to study smarter, not harder. Trust us. You’ll become more aware of this fact as the years go on and you advance in your education.

As time passes, more and more of your classes will only get tougher, and you’ll end up always having to burn the midnight oil if you haven’t developed the proper study habits.

Here are the top 13 study tips from researchers and scientists that will tell you how to pass any exam with flying colors.

First things first. How do you start your preparation for exam?

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 1

Find out what your test will be like

What’s the bottom line?

Start your test preparation by first learning about the test format (multiple choice, listening, essay, etc.) so the individual tasks won’t get you down. Don’t hesitate to ask your teacher.

Although your teacher may not straight away tell you what material you will need for the exam, he or she will definitely give you a list of the relevant topics to review.

If you have the chance, look through the tests from previous years – usually, they are similar in structure and content.

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 2

Develop a memory for test

Here is the deal:

It’s nearly impossible to develop memory in a short period, but you can improve your skill at remembering by correcting thoughts and habits. Improvement does not depend on how much you use your memory but how you use it.

So, what you should do?

Develop your memory for the test by making a habit out of paying close attention to the material you wish to remember. Make sure you have a clear image of the face, name, date, or facts you are learning. Make them meaningful by associating them with any material you already know.

Getting a good amount of sleep and eating proper meals are also essential factors for successful memorizing.

While learning, try to obtain as many different kinds of impressions as possible. Do whatever works for you. Some people memorize pictures better, while others memorize sounds better.

Putting together impressions from all the sense organs makes remembering easier as we rely on both sight and hearing.

Try to visualize the information. Draw a diagram or graphic and take notes to get a clear vision of the material.

With a good memory, you will never doubt how to pass any exam, right?

Want to learn even more? Just watch this video:

Try to spend half of your study session just reading. For the next half, actively do something with what you have learned: write new notes, try to find connections, or solve problems.

Study more than what’s just enough to pass your exam. It’s worth it—experiments have proven that 50 percent more studying results in 50 percent more retention.

In fact, in a week’s time, it was found that people who spent more time studying memorized six times more than those who barely covered the material.

Aren’t these great finals week tips?
smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 3

Don't stick to one study place

Here’s an important trick you might not know:

By changing your environment, you force your brain to recollect the same information in different places. That means that your brain will see that material as more useful and worth keeping.

To maximize your performance, take into consideration the context of your testing environment while studying. It’ll be easier to recall the information during the exam if you learned it in a similar environment.

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 4

Organize your study place

Dispose of any clutter you have on your table. Make sure that the light is right, your chair is cozy, and you have enough fresh air.

Before getting started, find what works for you and make your study space as comfortable as possible. For example, some people work better in complete silence, while others prefer having some background music.

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 5

Get distractions away

If you really want to study effectively, here is the kicker:

Put aside all of your social networks, mobile apps, and computer games during your study sessions. If you can’t resist the urge to check notifications or reply to messages, search for an app that will block all sources of distractions for a certain period.

Go ahead and devote all your attention to the test!

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 6

Divide studying into sessions

Contrary to popular belief, cramming doesn’t work.

In fact, it can cause more harm than help. It’s better to plan everything ahead of time and spread out your study periods for at least one week before the exam. In this way, you will have enough time to develop a deeper understanding of the subject.

For better long-term retention of knowledge, be sure to take regular breaks. Take time to go outside and enjoy nature or to do something that you enjoy.

Divide your studying into sessions of just 20 to 30 minutes, and focus on a single topic during each session. Always try to think of multiple ways to use the same information—that’s one of the most effective study skills.

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 7

Set a goal

Set a realistic goal and determine the amount of time you are going to spend studying. Write down all of the steps in a planner.

Each time you plan your study session, set a goal to understand the material thoroughly enough that you could explain it clearly to anyone.

If you can set a goal, why can’t you pass an exam?

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 8

Group up with your friends

One of the best ways to study effectively is to cooperate with your friends. Group study is the perfect opportunity to compare class notes and discuss any especially complicated concepts you think will be given in the test.

Group study for the test can be effective if all group members are disciplined and results-oriented. Moreover, you need to meet frequently enough to understand each other's strengths and weaknesses.

Some group members may share some tips to pass the exam easier, that you didn’t know yet.

Making up questions for each other and meeting to compare answers is an excellent idea, as well as giving each other timed quizzes to become familiar with working under pressure.

Make sure each member contributes to the group work by having a conversation on this topic on the very first day.

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 9

Test yourself

For individual studying, try a study card technique, like flash cards, or download an app to make a quiz of your own.

Use information from the notes you have taken while studying so that the material on the cards is clear to you.

To use flash cards to their highest potential, keep these tips in mind:

Make flashcards with basic definitions and concepts, mix them up, and pick out two to three cards to begin with. After learning the material from these cards, choose one more and go on.

When you have six cards, start dropping one of the original ones and continue until you have learned all of them. Repeat two to three times a day for 15 to 20 minutes, and you are ready to go.

Consider making physical copies of your flashcards so you can carry them around and use at any time.

And now to the test part!
smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 10

Beat your test anxiety

Wondering how to beat your test anxiety? Here you go:

On the day before the exam, you probably will be feeling sick and anxious, maybe even enough to make you want to run away or murder someone.

Relax—you are not the only one who has a fear of tests. Researchers have examined this question to supply you with ways to get calm enough to recollect the correct answer during test time.

Here’s one of the more surprising tips:

Don’t drink coffee or tea before your test, as caffeine just adds to the stress. As a result, you will probably be too pumped up to focus well on the task at hand.

Try to eat light or stay away from food altogether before the test. This makes sure that your most oxygen-rich blood goes straight to your brain and not your digestive system. It’s better take a walk to get the blood moving than to eat a huge meal.

Find a comfortable outfit that won’t distract you. Also, make sure you have all the pencils, pens, and erasers you will need so you won’t feel nervous over their absence.

Most importantly, be confident about your performance and don’t worry if you feel nervous: you have already done everything you could to get ready.

Don’t let yourself be distracted by other students who seem to be writing non-stop. Concentrate on your own tasks instead, focusing only on how to pass your examination.

Don’t be afraid to take a pause if you need to—just close your eyes and relax with some breathing exercises.

And now let’s look at some tips to pass a test.

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 11

Develop the test strategy

There are few main strategies for taking an examination.

Here’s the deal:

Scan the whole test first to get an idea of what concepts you will need. And as a bonus, you may find that the answers to some questions are actually given within other questions.

As you’re scanning, divide the whole test into sections for time management. Try to figure out which parts will take the most or least time, and organize your time accordingly.

Never try to save time by skipping the instructions, as they sometimes contain hints.

Besides, not reading the task instructions can lead to you wasting your time—what if the instructions say “answer one of the following questions” and you waste your time by answering all of them?

Remember that there are two main ways you can approach your test: either by completing your test section by section or by giving answers to the questions you know first and then coming back to the ones you are not certain of. By tackling your test in the second way, you will have more time to recall necessary information.

Always review your answers before you turn in your test to make sure you haven’t forgotten any skipped questions.

However, while looking through your work, don’t second-guess yourself too much—correct the answer only if the mistake is obvious.

And now it is time to use these tips!

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 12

Work differently with different questions

You might still be wondering how to take exam successfully. Get the answers for many different test types below:

How to pass a multiple choice exam: While reading the question, try to answer it first without looking at the given answers.

Next, read all of them, dismiss the wrong ones, and examine the distractors (statements that are true but don’t quite answer the question). In the end, you will have one variant—the correct one—left.

How to pass a matching exam: Start from the easy matches so you will have fewer options when it comes to harder ones.

Don’t forget to work both left to right and right to left; that is to say, don’t just look at the definition and try to find an appropriate word, but also look at the words and match them to definitions in your head.

When you have the last few pairs left, don’t just match them randomly to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

How to pass a fill in the blank exam: Try looking around the test questions for hints, like spelling and vocabulary words.

And last but not leasthow to pass an essay exam: First read the instructions carefully to make sure you know what exactly is required. If you are unsure of any details, ask for clarification from the teacher (if possible).

Get to the point from the minute you start writing.

Don’t waste time on style; it’s better to focus your time and effort on supporting each point of your essay with examples and details.

When you are done, reread the text to make sure you answered the specific question.

If, unfortunately, you run out of time before you finish the essay, go ahead and list the points you were going to make in outline style, as you may get some points for them.

smart study how to pass exam 13 tips 13

Relax and don't worry after the test

Worrying will not change your grade, but it can negatively affect your next one. Instead, put your focus right away on the next exam.

After you get your test back, look through it to find the questions you missed. If the teacher reviews the test in class, get ready to ask questions.

If you disagree with your exam grade, respectfully approach your teacher to get it explained. Remember that what you can learn from your mistakes is often more important than the grade itself.

Now you know how to pass any exam successfully. Go ahead and try these tips out!

Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch

Ruth Kinloch is a private tutor, language lover, and traveler. She has had a passion for languages since childhood. As a long-term tutor, she always looks for the most effective ways of learning. Ruth graduated from Indiana University and currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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Comments (137)

Tim Mutsikwi
August 28th, 2017 - 10:54 am

Ms Ruth , thank you so much for the article , its very insightful. i like the fact that you have engaged every individual who read and posted comments and you have also gone an extra mile to answer those who came up with questions in the comments section about the various problems that they still have even after getting some advise from your article, thank you for the effort and like everyone else i also have exams soon and your article has taken off anxiety and worry and Tip number 11 in my own view is the most right worm on the hook. i will keep following this article and the comments right up to the end of college.Thank you

Tim Mutsikwi
Zimbabwe

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
August 30th, 2017 - 8:40 am

Hi Tim,

What a pleasure to read such wonderful feedback like yours. Thank you very much for your kind words.

I really appreciate it! So glad that you found my work helpful.

Thanks again and all the best!

Reply
Lola fernandez
August 29th, 2017 - 4:49 am

Don’t do any sport or extra curricular plz. Do study as much as u can. Honestly just learn as much as u can don’t try to understand everything u don’t have time for that. Do reference books and test papers. U have only one way learn learn learn in one week. But sleep enough and eat enough don’t stress out. Sleep early and rise early. Don’t waste time. Dont even go to tuitions if not needed. Just do self study. Best of luck for ur test.

Reply
Carol
September 1st, 2017 - 5:58 am

thanks for the tips they are helpful

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 2nd, 2017 - 10:42 am

Thanks for the feedback!

Reply
olga grace sibeko
September 8th, 2017 - 11:09 am

I really want to go back to school since ididnt finish my matric and ive been home for so long but i hope this article will help.

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 9th, 2017 - 4:51 pm

Hi Olga,

Thanks for stopping by.

Best of luck to you!

Reply
Dorcas
September 11th, 2017 - 6:40 pm

Thank you so much for the tips,it really should help me.

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 12th, 2017 - 5:56 pm

Thank you!

Reply
Priya
September 11th, 2017 - 12:05 pm

Thanks for this valuable information . Tomorrow i am going to appear in the one of toughest examination of my life.I was feeling anxious but the tips you provide ease my anxiety.Now i am feeling comfortable and hope that i can do well.
thanks..

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 12th, 2017 - 5:55 pm

Thanks for the feedback, Priya! Best of luck to you :)

Reply
MANU SMITH
September 16th, 2017 - 12:16 pm

Am so much pleased to ha the information on how to study , i have faith that my performance will shoot higher…..Thanks….!!!

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 16th, 2017 - 6:25 pm

Hi, Manu! Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed the post.

Best of luck!

Reply
sandrah
September 18th, 2017 - 2:56 pm

woow so great

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 20th, 2017 - 6:48 pm

Thank you!

Reply
wiseman
September 19th, 2017 - 1:36 pm

I have found your blog to be useful and gave me much insight on the successful use of my time.Thank you very much Ruth.Will definitely recommend your blog to my peers.

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 20th, 2017 - 6:49 pm

Much appreciated for your kind words :)

Reply
Hassan mfaume
September 19th, 2017 - 7:02 pm

Dear ruth thank you very much to show us ways on how we can reduce our fear of exams. But for me I have the habits on the time of reading my self there is a things which I can face during the personal studies is recall things which is rubish so how I can over come with that thing?

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 20th, 2017 - 6:53 pm

Thanks for the feedback, Hassan. Primarily, you need to learn how to focus. There’s plenty of exercises that will help you strengthen your attention and concentration. Also, please check our articles on How to Overcome Top 5 Distractions When It’s Time to Study and How to Improve Memory: Follow Simple Nutrition Tips.

Hope I helped you out!

Reply
Daniel
September 21st, 2017 - 4:30 pm

thanks alot ma for such a useful article,but i always have a problem with understanding and assimilating most text books.
don’t know if you can help me out
I’ll be so grateful

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 23rd, 2017 - 5:35 pm

Hi Daniel, sorry, but I don’t actually understand what kind of help you want to get from me.

If you could just specify a little bit more.

Thanks for the kind words about the article!

Reply
Dominic Chuks
September 22nd, 2017 - 9:47 am

Hi Ruth kinloch, thanks for your wonderful article, actually, am about writing my first professional exam and I was very afraid before your article, but right now I have gained lots of confidence and I know am gonna make it, thanks a lot for the write up. I appreciate.

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 23rd, 2017 - 5:36 pm

What a pleasure to read such feedback like yours! Thank you, Dominic.

Reply
chris
September 23rd, 2017 - 8:41 pm

Thanks for the exam tips
I was highly motivated

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 26th, 2017 - 5:56 am

Glad to hear it, Chris! Best of luck to you :)

Reply
Samadhi
September 26th, 2017 - 5:18 am

I like to pass exams easily. But I failed some exams. Actually, now I understood what’s the reason for that. I think I can pass exams without any problems. Thank you very much…..

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
September 26th, 2017 - 5:55 am

My pleasure to help you out. Thanks for the feedback, Samadhi!

Reply
deph
October 13th, 2017 - 9:48 am

interesting reading

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
October 15th, 2017 - 4:44 pm

Glad you liked the post :)

Reply
Sidayai Moirangthem
October 14th, 2017 - 9:58 am

Very thanks

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
October 15th, 2017 - 4:44 pm

Thank you for the reply!

Reply
Kaka Stephen
October 17th, 2017 - 11:52 am

Hi Ruth.I was searching for ways to help some primary schools pupils on how to prepare and pass their examination and found that you have been a private tutor and a lover for languages. I have also been training on languages in Nairobi Kenya for the last 15 years.Keep up good work.

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
October 17th, 2017 - 6:04 pm

Hi Stephen,

Thank you for the kind words. It’s a pleasure to get in touch with you.

Best wishes!

Reply
Eric
October 19th, 2017 - 3:56 am

Thanks very much Ruth,I really appreciate your article for it has stir up a positive challenge in my life and I will consider everything stated and work so hard.

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
October 20th, 2017 - 10:44 am

Hi Eric,

Glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you for the feedback :)

Reply
tahoor
October 20th, 2017 - 2:09 pm

beautiful tips thanks ruth kinloch very much

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
October 23rd, 2017 - 9:23 pm

Thank you for the feedback!

Reply
Rio
October 26th, 2017 - 12:45 am

Hello, miss Ruth thank you very much for this article. I have a very very important exam in a few weeks and this will really help a lot. Thank you!

Reply
Ruth Kinloch
Ruth Kinloch
October 27th, 2017 - 11:28 am

Hi Rio,

Thank you very much for your kind words. Glad that you find the article helpful :)

Reply