Tests are some of the most important events in your academic career. Whether it be a vocabulary test for a high school English class, or your entry exam for pharmacy school, tests can be a major source of stress in a students life. Especially if a student has two tests scheduled for the same day. How do you prepare for two tests on the same day? Students may ask; where do I start? What should I do if I don’t have much time to work with?
What to do if you Have Time to Prepare
There are multiple ways one can study for an upcoming exam but when it comes to taking multiple tests in one day your number one goal should be to start the studying process early. Starting early will give you time to really let the information sink in. This method allows you to gradually work your way through large quantities of information without rushing and feeling pressured. You can take your time and take the information one topic at a time. With the extra time I would recommend going through the information for one test at a time. Spend an hour or two one day on the content of one test then repeat the next day with the content of the other test. Repeat this process in the days leading up to test day. The confidence you gain by really understanding the topics will also be a great advantage you have on the test. When you are comfortable with what you have studied you will be comfortable when you sit down and read the first question. To increase this confidence you should do a quick review the day before the test. Start this review a few hours before you plan on going to bed. I have found that reviewing information right before sleep will help retain more than if you do your review in the morning test day eve. Split this final review session into two parts. The first part being for the second test and the second part being for the first test. This way the information for your first test will be freshest in your mind when you walk into that first test. The content for the second test will be just a little bit less fresh but a quick glance at the information will solidify your knowledge before you go take down your exam.
What to do if your out of Time
When I say out of time, I am talking a mere twenty four hours until testing. When you are faced with circumstances like these it is time to shift your studying into high gear. Its time to cram everything you need to know for both topics into your brain and be ready to spit it right back out the next day. The process for this is going to involve the same type of last day review as when you prepare with time. Except this is going to be a beefy review. Start with the information for the test you will be taking second, then once you have become comfortable with this content move on to the information for the first test you will be taking.
When attempting to memorize large quantities of content quickly the best method is going to be flashcards. Create a flashcard for every term, fact, or definition that you could be tested on. When making your cards try to add hints that will help the content pop into your head when you need it. Draw pictures as hits as well. Constantly seeing a keyword a picture and a fact together will help your brain find its way to the information you are looking for.
For example, when I was taking AP Chemistry in High school, our assignment was to memorize around twenty of the poly atomic ions and their charges. Of course I procrastinated and found myself in deep trouble. When the test was one period away and I had zero ions memorized. So I created a set of flashcards of all of the ions. For the ions; sulfate (SO4) and Sulfite (SO3) I noticed that the ending “ite” always had one less oxygen than the ending “ate”. So on my flashcard I wrote “ite -1 “. I know it is a little out there but it helped me a great deal. Find some hints that connect a question or keyword to the correct answer, and add them to the front of your flashcards.
Once your flashcards are all set up with hints and correct answers, There are a few different roads you can go down. You can just quiz yourself one card at a time by just looking at the keyword/ question and your hint then trying to get the correct answer. This method is a little overwhelming for some; so I have been using another flashcard technique that allows you to break up your pile of flashcards into smaller sections. This method was brought to my attention by one of my Spanish teachers and it has been my go to strategy ever since. It is called “Five Stack” and is very effective. To “play” five stack you will place all of your flashcards into a pile on the table/desk. Next pick up five cards and attempt to guess the answer of each of the five cards. After each card create a pile of incorrect cards and correct cards. Go through your whole stack of cards until you have tried to answer/ define each. You should end up with two piles of cards, one of cards answered incorrectly and one of cards answered correctly. The incorrect pile is now your drawing pile and you will begin drawing five at a time from it, placing cards answered correctly into the same pile of correct cards as the first round. Your drawing pile will get shorter and shorter as you answer more and more questions correctly until you have answered/defined all of the questions/ words correctly. To really solidify the information into memory I would recommend repeating this game two to three times.
If you really want to be successful on a test the best way to go is to begin preparing as soon as possible. Learning takes time and practice. However, we have all been forced to cram information last second for a test or two last second. Just make sure you really focus while following these steps and you will definitely do decent on any test you take. Tests not only reflect knowledge, but also effort put into preparation. So make sure you prepare appropriately and knock out your next tests.