Exam prep. These two syllables have induced fear in students for generations. The SATs and ACT have grown more difficult over the years as universities ramp up their standards. Many advanced degrees require high scores on exams (GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.). As important as they are, it’s no wonder that prepping for exams can be a nail-biting, nerve-wracking experience. Luckily, we students have something no generation has had before: technology. How can you use it to maximize your test-taking potential? Read on.
Benefits of Tech for Exam Prep
Social media and online tutoring websites like Buddy School, Happy Tutors, and Tutor Hub make it easy to find a tutor that fits your needs. Many tutoring sites are free and screen their tutors. Most universities these days have some form of online (and offline) tutoring program as well. You can expect most tutors to be at least Sophomores that earned a 4.0 in their tutoring subject.
Homework help sites are a blessing. These places will allow you to post questions (specific or general) right to the site. Site users will then provide their input. Screening and moderation at these sites can be hit or miss, so always double-check any answers or advice. And, of course, don’t use these sites to do your homework for you. You’ll pay for it come exam time.
Practice Test Questions
You can find practice test questions to a variety of tests online. These questions won’t be the exact questions you’ll find on the “real” exam, but they’ll help you get in the right mind state. Practice questions teach your brain how to think during an exam and they can do wonders for easing your test anxieties! For those of you getting ready for your MCAT, an MCAT practice test is a useful tool that will make sure you’re up to snuff on test day. And it is also a great way to mentally prepare for the level of practice needed once you’re studying for grad school exams.
Test prep sites often have stimulating games to play (like flashcards, Jeopardy-style games, and matching question/answer). Games are a great way to keep studying without taking things too seriously-an excellent strategy to prevent study fatigue. Just remember: you’re studying for an exam, so try not to be too lax. Games are awesome for a much-needed reprieve from the usual studying rigors but focusing exclusively on games can get you caught up on test day.
Note taking and Brainstorming
Any successful student knows that proper notetaking can seriously enhance your performance on tests and exams. Note taking and brainstorming apps like Evernote, Stormboard, and MindMup will help you cleanly organize your notes, mind-map those more creative problems during studying, and plan out those dreaded writing portions to ensure your success. Many of these apps are free or incredibly cheap-perfect for us broke college students!
Audio and Video
Never discount the power of learning on the move. With video content sites like YouTube growing in popularity every year, you’re bound to find lessons online that you can watch or listen to during your commute. Many college textbooks also include e-books into their formatting now. If nothing else, you can always record lectures and lessons on your phone. Throw in some headphones and listen to the sweet, soothing sounds of your professors as you drive, ride, or bike!
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Time and Resource Management
Students these days are busy. Most of us go to school while also maintaining full-time jobs, keeping close with friends, and trying to stay sane. It can get hectic. Managing time and resources can be brutal—especially if you aren’t particularly good at self-motivation or if you’ve got very little spare time to study. Luckily, there are apps like Google Calendar, RescueTime, and Remember the Milk that will help you organize your priorities. You can set reminders and timers as needed to help you get the most out of what time you have.
Being a successful student is hard work. There’s no getting around it. Sometimes, that hard work can drive us crazy. Don’t overlook the value of using social media to voice your frustrations or speak with other students. Vocalizing your problems and talking them through with others in similar situations can do wonders for stress management and anxiety reduction!