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Strategies on How You Can Better Prepare for an Essay-based Exam

Exams are coming right up. Most of the time, professors give multiple-choice exams to test memory and knowledge retention and essay exams to evaluate comprehension and learning. Compared to the former, a lot of students are more afraid of making essays.

Essay tests how well you understand a concept.  While it might make you feel terrified and anxious, a lot of preparation and practice can give you enough confidence. Here are a few strategies to better prepare yourself for your upcoming exam:

  1. Make sure you attend class

In any type of exam, attending class is important, but it is not enough that you are physically present in class. You have to be mentally present as well. It is when you listen to the professor’s inputs on the subject matter that you can understand concepts according to his or her own perspective.

Put away anything that can distract you and concentrate on the discussion. Also, participate in class. It will give you a more critical understanding of the topic and aid in the retention of information.

  1. Take down notes

Although your professors will be giving you their presentations and materials, and the discussion can be found in your book references, your notes will still help you. Write the things in the discussion as you understand it. You can also take down the insights from your classmates and professors– some things that are not in the books and materials you have.

With notes, you have something you can look at if you want to recall something based on the discussion. If you find it hard to write quickly, ask for permission from your professor to record the whole discussion.

  1. Be sure you read a lot

Keep up with your reading list. Essay-based exams are based on information processing and understanding. Read your materials to have a good grasp of the topic. The more you read, the more you can write about the topic. According to advancedwriters.com, reading is your only way to get through your student life.

  1. Practice your critical and analytical skills.

You need critical thinking to present your arguments and support them. If you practice it, you have to compare and contrast your ideas with the resource book, the professor, and your classmates. Moreover, contemplate why you agree or disagree with something. Answer the why’s and how’s of every concept and anticipate questions that might be included in the exam.

  1. Put your best foot forward while taking the exam.

As you take the exam, read the instructions carefully. Be watchful of the keywords found in each question. What does the question ask you? Begin by answering the questions you find easy and those that you can recall properly. Starting with the hardest question might give you a lot of stress and anxiety.

After which, discuss, compare and contrast, analyze, evaluate, provide evidence, and express personal feelings on the keywords given.


Essay examinations is a good measure of higher-order learning. Providing such type of exam aids retention and learning of the students. When understanding an idea and concept matters more than purely remembering its meaning and definition, then essay test is the answer. Preparing for such exam might be taxing, but in the end, it’s more worth it.

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About Sonia Kukreja

I am a mother of a lovely kid, and an avid fan technology, computing and management related topics. I hold a degree in MBA from well known management college in India. After completing my post graduation I thought to start a website where I can share management related concepts with rest of the people.