The Best Way to Prepare for History Exams
Learning about history can be incredibly exciting, or incredibly dull. No matter how interesting the class is, if you don’t learn the material, you won’t do well on your exam. Here are a couple of ways to prepare for history exams.
1 Read the assigned chapters
Sounds easy. It can be, that is, as long as you keep up during the semester. Don’t fall behind or you’ll regret it later. Most chapters in history texts aren’t very long, but can be packed with information. Try reading a little bit at a time until you complete the assigned reading. Because you take breaks, you’ll remember more later.
2 Take notes in class
Your teacher may be a lecturer, and if he/she is, you need to take good notes. It may be tempting to daydream or draw instead of writing what your professor is saying, but it will hurt you in the long run. Make sure your notes are legible and thorough. If you miss a class, ask a friend if you can copy their notes! Often, professors give exam questions on information they lecture about. Paying attention and copying down what teachers say will definitely help you for the exam.
3 Know what material you will be tested on/what kind of test it is
Double check with your professor and classmates exactly what will be on the exam. You don’t want to spend ages studying the wrong chapters, or learning names and dates you’ll never need to know. Also find out the test format. Will it be essay questions? How many? Knowing this will help you prepare.
4 Study in advance
Don’t wait to the last minute to crack open your book! Study a little each day. Before you go out with your friends, reread your notes from that day’s class. It could take less than ten minutes. It’ll be less you have to learn later.
5 Make a timeline
If you are studying a certain period in history, or a certain civilization, make a timeline of events. Note the important ones, and include any details you think are important. This will help you keep track of what happened, and when. It will also prevent you from mixing up similar events. If you need to, create a simple way of remembering things, using familiar objects or names that you will associate with the correct events.
6 Make note cards
Write vocabulary words, events, people, and places on note cards with their definitions/details on the other side. Keep them with you and pull them out every once in awhile. It only takes a minute to flip through them. Quiz yourself regularly until you’ve memorized them. You can do this up until right before the professor hands out the exams!
7 Take practice tests
If your teacher gives you practice essays or questions, do them. Go to a quiet place such as the library, and time yourself while you take the practice test. Take it seriously, and when your time is up, check your results. If you had problems with a certain question, study that area until you are sure you’d be able to answer it. Some of these questions can often be found after chapters in textbooks, or at the end of textbooks.
8 Get a study group/partner
Get together with some classmates. Having a study partner make up practice tests, or just quiz you will really help you and vice versa. Students often learn better when they have to teach the material to others, so creating tests may help you remember the material.
9 Don’t over study
Don’t spend every waking minute studying for your exam. Take time to relax, watch TV, or go out with your friends. Set aside certain study hours and study, and then stop. You will remember more if you study for short periods of time and take frequent breaks.
10 Eat a good breakfast/Get a good night’s sleep
Most students ignore this one, but studies have shown that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Get a good breakfast before class. And go to sleep at a reasonable hour. You want to be well rested for the test.
11 Don’t panic
Try to relax. Go into the test confident in your abilities. When the test gets passed out, don’t panic. If you don’t know a question, skip it and come back to it later.
Follow these steps and you should be ready for any history exam!