The Best Way to Study For Economics Exams

young woman studying
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Exams are coming, or they might already be here for some of you! Either way, it's time to study. First things first, don't panic. Economics guest writer Hannah Rasmussen has outlined some helpful study tips for your exam, whether it's three weeks away or tomorrow.

First, we look at the how to study for an economics exam that is a few weeks out. Then we consider how to cram the night before a test. Good luck!

The Best Way to Study for Economics Exams One to Three Weeks in Advance

Congratulations on starting to study early! Here's what to do:

  1. Ask your instructor for an exam outline and what to expect on the exam.
  2. Create an overview. Review your notes and any assignments you had.
  3. Review the course's main ideas.
  4. For each big idea, review its sub-topics and supporting details
  5. Practice. Use old exams to get a feel for the style of questions you might be asked.

Hints

  • Be realistic. No one can study for 8 hours a day.
  • Make sure you get plenty of food, sleep, and relaxation.
  • Try to study in the same place at the same time every day.
  • At the beginning of each study period review the last thing you studied for 10 minutes.
  • Rewrite your notes. It can help you retain information.
  • Read your notes out loud.
  • If you don't complete a particular task, don't worry just carry it over to your next session.
  • Don't simply memorize facts. Ask yourself broad open-ended questions about the material that's been covered.

    The Night Before the Exam

    1. Sleep!
    2. Try to stick to review. Don't try to learn anything new.
    3. Picture yourself succeeding. One of the key elements for many world-class performers is visualization.

    The Day of the Exam

    1. Eat. Don't skip the meal before your exam because not eating can result in tiredness and poor concentration.
    1. Arrive just a few minutes before your exam to avoid the usual wide-spread and contagious panic

    During the Exam

    1. Use a cheat sheet even if you're not allowed to bring one into the exam.
      Make a cheat sheet of the material you are certain will help; take it to the exam; throw it out before you sit down, then recopy it from memory, somewhere on the exam booklet, as soon as you can.
    2. Read all of the questions (except multiple choice) before beginning, and write notes on the paper for anything important that occurs to you as you read.
    3. If you're having a problem with one question move on and return to the problem question if you have time left at the end.
    4. Watch the clock.

    The Best Way to Study If Your Economics Exam Is Tomorrow 

    While no one really recommends cramming, sometimes that's what you have to do. So here are some hints to get you through it:

    1. Pick the most important subjects from your material.
    2. Look over your lecture notes, or someone else's if you don't have any, and see what the lecturer focused on. Concentrate your cramming on these broad areas. You don't have time to learn specifics.
    3. The key to cramming is memorization, so it only works for "knowledge" questions. Focus on material that can be memorized.
    1. Spend 25% of your time cramming and 75% drilling yourself. Recite and repeat the information.
    2. Relax: being upset at yourself for not studying earlier won't help and may hurt your performance in the class
    3. Remember how you felt while studying and while writing the exam and plan to study earlier next time!

    Hints

    • Be realistic. No one can study for 8 hours a day
    • Make sure you get plenty of food and sleep
    • Try to study in a quiet place
    • Rewrite your notes. It can help you retain information
    • Read your notes out loud

    The Day of the Exam

    1. Eat. Don't skip the meal before your exam because not eating can result in tiredness and poor concentration.
    2. Arrive just a few minutes before your exam to avoid the usual wide-spread and contagious panic

    During the Exam

    1. Use a cheat sheet even if you're not allowed to bring one into the exam. 
      Make a cheat sheet of the material you are certain will help; take it to the exam; throw it out before you sit down, then recopy it from memory, somewhere on the exam booklet, as soon as you can.
    1. Read all of the questions (except multiple choice) before beginning, and write notes on the paper for anything important that occurs to you as you read.
    2. If you're having a problem with one question move on and return to the problem question if you have time left at the end.
    3. Watch the clock.