Disclaimer : In this post I'm outlining all the steps that go in the 'preparation' for the exams, i.e. prior to the study part. This is not a 'how to study for your exams' blog post. If you want a blog about that, let me know, I'll try and do one of those as well. But as for now, let's prep!
When exam season approaches, the most difficut step is to begin. With all the various subjects that need to be covered with all these different syllabi, I honestly get overwhelmed a lot. And so these are a few steps I have started following whenever exam season approaches and it has made my life so much easier!
Keep a dedicated notebook for all your 'studying'
It makes sense to have a dedicated place to go to, to refer back to all your notes you've taken down during your study sessions.
For me, I have been able to use this diary/ notebook for all my exams right from the first year! It has proven to be a very useful technique because I know that this is all I need to carry to any study sessions and revisions.
This has saved me a lot of time trying to find a place for all of my exam notes and studying material. I use it to consise all my study material, keep my syllabi, keep a list of definitions, write down important formulae and solve practice questions.
You can also use a binder instead where you can keep all your notes, any handouts given during the lecture, practice questions, a copy of your syllabi and any other study material. Its easy and fun to organise.
Also, I like to mark various subjects using flags or post it notes. It keeps the entire process fast and organised.
Make sure you know the syllabus for your course
I am in a course where my term work has more weightage than my actual written exams ( doesn't mean that they aren't important haha). So usually all the studying happens during the preparatory leave when all the lectures are over. So having my syllabus in hand is of utmost importance to me. Knowing what all needs to be covered is a big relief and syllabi usually come with a break down in chapters or units. This make the entire study material much more easier to manage.
I write down the syllabi or the chapters I have to cover for each subject before I start my study sessions. Each syllabus is written between the colour assigned for that subject so that when I look back, my brain can corelate faster. Ofcourse this step isn't necessary, but is surely helpful.
Organise all the subjects independently
I like to store the work and study material for each subject in a folder dedicated to that subject.
Here's my organisation method for making folders on my computer:
Year > Semester > Subject > Stages (if applicable) > Files
For eg if I have an essay in an English class, it'll be stored like this:
First Year > Semester I > English > Midterm > Essay_Draft 1
This system has been working flawlessly for me for the past 4 years. It makes the process of referring back to certain things so easy. Of course feel free to develop your own and customise as per your needs, but in case you need a ready system, I thought I'd share mine!
Dump all your studying material and reference notes in one folder dedicated to that subject!
This is the previous point carried forward. But this is especially meant for study material in softcopy format. I get my study materials in all sorts of formats - PDFs and PPTs sent by my professors and my friends, images of handwritten notes sent on Whatsapp, softcopies of previous question papers, MS Word documents, emails, etc. I find it messy to switch back and forth between devices and platforms for referring to study materials and hence I dump all of my reference material in a single folder dedicated to that subject, in my laptop. There I can refer to any form of notes anytime and I don't find the need to search anywhere else. Time and energy, thus saved.
So whether it's physical notes or hardcopies, the best way to organise is in one single place!
Now that you've reached the end of the blogpost, I hope that it was helpful for you in some way. If it is exam season for you too, I hope this post inspires you to begin your 'prep' for your study sessions. All the best! I hope you do well!