1. Dedicate time to gather your study material. Start with 20 mins.

The first step in exam prep is to collect the study material you need for the exam. I spend about at least a couple of hours finding and storing the study material I need for the exam.

Usually, there are 4 main things I recommend you should look to gather right away in university:

  • Syllabus or the course outline
  • Lecture slides or videos
  • Readings (textbooks, journal articles, blog posts)
  • Practice problems (highly recommend)

On the first day of studying, I recommend you focus on gathering the necessary study material. Really dig deep into finding as much as possible about what you need to know, and study for the exam.

If you are studying for a self-study course, take the time to ask others who have taken the same course how th

If you do this step now, you won’t need to worry about what you will be tested on, and you can also study in peace.

If you are looking to get started with a self-study course or exam, I recommend applying the same steps. Investing video lessons and practice problems can greatly improve your learning effectiveness, if you take a self-study program.

2. Break down your course outline (syllabus) to create a study guide/plan to make it digestible.

I used to start studying without actually paying attention to what was on the course outline. This was a mistake I am glad I finally addressed.

Believe or not, your syllabus  is pretty much a blueprint for acing your exam.

It tells you specifically what topics will be covered on the exam, what readings and chapters need to be covered, and indicates whether the exam is cumulative or not. In some cases, it will tell how much each section is worth. This is vital information to help organize your studying.

If this information is not available in the course outline, or anywhere in your course website, please email your professor to confirm these things.

After you break down your course outline, I recommend you create a study guide that covers the topics, lectures, readings, and practice problems you need to learn for the exam. 

I would list out everything I need to study in a sheet similar below.

3. Use the powerful Pomodoro Technique to make your studying easy, fun and focused

Pomodoro Technique is one of my most powerful and favorite techniques to beat procrastination, increase productivity and become laser-focused.

This technique is very popular and widely used in the professional world to increase focus and productivity. I used this technique to get good grades in university and to pass my professional certifications. It has helped me tremendously to get the career I dreamed of.

Here is how you can get started:

  • Step 1: Choose your task
  • Step 2: Set your timer to 25 minutes
  • Step 3: Be laser focused and work on your task until the time is up. Do not get distracted with anything else.
  • Step 4: Rest 5 minutes
  • Step 5: Do as many of these session as you feel is needed and comfortable
  • Step 6: Track how much of these you can complete a day, week and month.

Use this method to complete the tasks you identified in the Study Progress sheet.

I noticed that keeping track of my Pomodoro sessions kept me consistent with my work and study efforts. Research also shows that by tracking and checking your progress, you increase the chances of your success. I highly recommend you use this free Pomodoro Tracker tool to keep track of how many of them you complete. 

What your favorite ways to get start with studying?