So you've got a big exam coming up and don't know what to study? No problem. This guide will give you a step-by-step process to score higher and be more ready for your exams.

Lecture vs. Textbook Exams

Study Your Books Ahead of TimeCredit: sxc.huThis only applies to college students. Some professors split exams into three categories:

1. Only based off of lectures

2. Completely out of the textbook

3. A combination of textbook and lecture

You have to figure out what is on the test to know what material to study. If your professor hasn't said which type of test it will be go ask during office hours. Don't interrupt class to ask what is on the exam.

Starting Early

The only way to truly guarantee success is to start early and study in smaller chunks. Scientific studies have proven that studying small amounts over a large period of time leads to better retention than cramming the night before a big test.

I recommend setting aside 10 minutes daily to brush up on the notes. As you get closer to the exam, change the 10 to 15, 15 to 30, and 30 to 60. This way you will have  this information in your long-term memory and not short-term information you will forget.

Managing Your Time

It's true that you will have to make some sacrifices to get a better grade. The 10 minutes you take out of your day could be spent on something more fun like video games but I'm urging you not to fall into this trap and start treating time as a valuable resource!

Use Resources Given

Often a professor will give a study guide for the exam. If they do, feel free to yell "Booyah!" right in the middle of the lecture. This means that you have pretty much all the information that is on the exam. All you have to do is know it.

Some resources you have are a study guide, textbook (some come with quizzes at the end of every chapter), earlier notes, and other class members.

Creating A Study Group

Start talking to friends in that class about starting a study group that will meet 2-3 times before the exam. Having other's notes and resources is invaluable to your score rising.

I've had most success on my exam with being in multiple study groups for the same class. I usually go to three separate groups before the test date so I'm ready and know the most I can.

The Day Before The Exam

I'm not your mom but you have to listen to me here. Get sleep. Do not cram or pull an all-nighter unless that's what works for you. Sleep deprivation will keep you from reaching your full potential and you will miss questions that you know the answer to.

The Day Of The Exam

You should know exactly where the building you are taking the exam is if you aren't taking it in class. Also, bring the supplies needed. Bring 2 pencils and a calculator if necessary. I also like taking my backpack with a lot of notes so I can study outside the exam room for 30 minutes right before the big test.

Wrapping Up

I wish you the best of luck and hope you get an A. The fact of the matter is that A's take hard work and determination, but don't be scared of those words. Embrace them and you will find academic success.