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5 Common Mistakes (and Tips) Most Students Make During Test Preparations

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Albizu chapter.

            Mid-terms, finals, and exams in general can be a nuisance for any student. Especially for those who feel unprepared for it. Sometimes many of us feel we understand a curriculum enough for us to think we’re capable of acing the test, only to discover we actually flunked it. On many occasions, we might feel a need to not study enough for them; other times we feel overflowed with so much school material, we forget how to cope with everything and end up disorganizing ourselves academically. Because of this, it is easy to point out common mistakes many students, weather in college or high school, take to commit during test preparations.

Last Minute Studying

For many of us, working under pressure seems to work to our advantage; some might even be more lenient in getting work done better that way. But, will it be the same the same case when studying for an exam? From experience, it is safe to say that when I choose to study days or the night before the test, rather than carefully applying what I learn in class daily, I tend to lean in memorizing most of the subjects, and research them in chronological order instead of priority order. Because my main goal is to get through the studying period as quick as possible, and acquiring as much information as I can, I tend to lose focus from what I actually need to learn for the test, as well as I mentally drain myself with so much information, which can lead to possible headaches or dizziness by the time I take the exam.

*For this, take your time to learn the material at a proper pace. Write down the things that need more focus and remember to take breaks during study periods. It is recommended not to go through your study notes minutes before the exam, since it will be the last thing you’ll remember, and your mind will easily discard days’ worth of studying instantly.

Constant Dependency of Professors and Tutors

Learning outside of class can be a real challenge, especially when you have to adapt to a certain time frame of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and socialization, and still being able to sleep at least 7-8 hours a day. For many, this might result challenging or near impossible, all depending in the area of study and requisites. However, only using class time to absorb the material can lead to limited knowledge of what might come on the test. Because there is no personal research or application to the subjects, students my lead to last minute studying, forcefully memorizing concepts only to forget them afterwards.

*According to this, try reading book chapters (if your curriculum does require you to have a book) before the class. Also, write down notes and highlight terms or concepts you don’t understand you can research about them after class.

No Proper Studying Routine

Since students don’t know how they can learn best, they might use general methods of comprehension and application which might not be suitable for their learning expertise. Having no idea what helps you to better study can leave you stuck academically, ultimately making you feel worrisome about how you’ll be able to learn all of the information properly and on time. Many tend just read over their notes from class, or reread the chapters hoping some information will stay inside their heads up until the day of the exam. However, what happens when that works, and you finish your test? Where does all that acquired information go? For most, they just forget it instantly; others might remember a few things here and there, but if you ask them a specific question on the test or how they answered it, they might simply go blank.

            *The idea here is not to forget what you learn. Look for ways you can apply to yourself the subjects you need to learn. Whether it’s by reading comprehension, visual examples (graphs, charts, and pictures, etc.), and audio reviews, among others.

Lack of Sleep

Studying itself is a challenge, but getting enough sleep is usually the worst-case scenario for most students. Not getting the proper quantity of hours of rest can lead to lack of focus when taking a test, or any daily activity in general, more so if you didn’t have a proper meal beforehand. If you lack organization, this flaw can be easily manifested at a regular basis.

            *It is important to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Take your time to study the material but set a time for you to rest and wake up (even if you feel you haven’t studied enough). Getting enough rest and having a good meal during your studying period and right before the exam can lead to a better execution; your mind will be energized and awake.


You don’t have to be a psychologist to know that it’s easy to feel anxious before an exam. Processing what the test might be like, or what your grade will be after taking, or simply how it will go for you can make you lose focus on what you need to prioritize yourself on. Though it is a negative action, worrying whether you studied enough or not regularly crosses the minds of students. If you feel all of the previous mistakes identify with you, this last one can be clearly protected throughout, not only when you study, but also your entire academic experience, as well as your future professional experiences.

            *Take your time when you go through the test taking process. Make the most of what you applied in your studies and execute as best as you can your answers in the test. Know that it’s okay to not do so good in your exam, especially if you knew you studied. Identify where you went wrong and practice from there. Feel free to ask your teachers or professors for guidelines (or extra work for bonus points, if they’re willing to provide) in order to help you to improve your comprehension on future materials. Take deep breaths and relax your mind; a clear mind can help you through the process of studying and test-taking.

As you can see, you might feel identified with at least one of them, or have had to identify yourself. Most of us feel indifferent in this aspect, including myself. You may also notice how each has the possibly to intertwine with each other, this may depend on the type student you are. Studying is a challenge; it takes time and effort to achieve a good score on your exams. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to plan accordingly. All in all, enjoy the intricate process. Do your best on the exams. Take some time to relax and rest. Eat accordingly. But most of all, be glad when it’s over!

My name is Kristel De Jesús. I’m from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I study psychology at the Carlos Albizu University. My passions include singing, dancing, photography, and self-care routines.
Albizu Her Campus