Note: If you didn’t read Part One of my Ace your Exams series, you should give it a look before you read this one.
Now that you have written out all your exams and content, rated your confidence level, and defined your study hours, you’re ready to move on to the second phase: creating a study plan.
Step 1: Block Out your Study Times
Since you’ve already defined how much time you have to study per day or per week, and you’ve determined how confident you are on each exam overall, you can now convert these numbers into time blocks.
Here’s an example: Say I have 3 hours of study time on the weekend and I want to focus on my Calculus AP Exam, my German AP Exam, and my Literature AP Exam. I have a confidence level of 5 in Calc, 7 in German, and 8 in Literature. Another factor to consider is test importance. I know I need to get a 4 or 5 on Literature to get out of a college class I want to skip, and I know I need to do well in German to get closer to a minor in college. So, I will prioritize those two above calculus despite the confidence level. Rather than dividing the three hours equally, I would break it down in the following way:
- 30 minutes of Calculus MCQ Practice (alternate with FRQ practice weekly)
- 75 minutes of German Practice (alternate between MCQ, essays, and conversation/presentation weekly. Concentrate on MCQ first three weeks because that is lowest confidence)
- 75 minutes of Literature practice (MCQ first three weeks, then essay practice following two)
Once you define this, make sure you set a time in your schedule to be doing this studying and don’t let it slip!
Step 2: Define your Study Goals
Now that we have time blocked all of our studying, it’s time to define progress goals. You may need to take the first week to do practice exams to see where you were at. Then, define where you want to be at your next practice. For instance, if you missed 10 questions on an MCQ one week, aim to miss 8 or less the next week.
The key to this is to make sure that your goals are manageable and realistic. You’ll feel better if you reach your goals. And make sure to keep track of your progress by writing down your performance every day you do the practice exams. Some of these are harder to determine than others; for instance, you may not always be able to accurately grade an essay yourself and track your progress. If you can get a teacher to look over it, that’d be great, and if not, evaluate yourself as best you can based on the rubric provided.
Step 3: Create a Daily/Weekly Checklist
This checklist will allow you to track your progress and feel accomplished as you continue on your studying. If you miss an item, make sure to make it up as soon as possible. This will make it more tangible. You can see examples of how you can layout your checklist below.
So there are the next three steps to acing your exams this season! I hope you enjoyed and learned. Please share with me your study lists and progress trackers! This can be made super cute using a bullet journaling system. Share it on social with #ALTaceyourexams !