The Seven-Day Test Prep Plan

One of the most important steps in effective test prep is creating a plan. In general, plan to start about 7-10 days in advance to make sure you maximize your study time. Remember, it is better to space your studying out over a period of days rather than clustering your studying just before the exam. Ten hours of studying over 5 days is better than 10 hours of studying over 2 days! Organize your material by concepts, planning to start with the most difficult material first. This gives you the most time to seek out support well before the exam. Use the guidelines below to create your plan. Use your resources and remember to use active study techniques! You got this. 

7-10 days before the exam: Overview of all of the material



4-6 days before test: Review content and self-test, begin with difficult areas

Reviewing strategies

  • rework homework and quiz questions
  • self-test on chapter and lecture notes
  • answer chapter or study-guide questions
  • attend a review session, office hours and/or tutoring
  • study with a friend or teach someone else the concepts
  • explain concepts in your own words from memory


2-3 days before test


  • Study all material thoroughly.
  • Work with others to work-through material and ask possible exam questions.
1 day before the test
  • Review briefly and get a good night’s sleep. You have studied the material three times in the past seven days. Sleep will help you recall and use what you have learned.

Active Studying

Passive Studying

  •  Explain material in your own words, from memory
  •  Develop a concept map or flow chart
  •  Answer practice questions
  •  Relate theories to made-up stories or real life, personal examples
  • Look at charts and diagrams and explain them in your own words
  • Answer Higher Order Thinking Questions- Why? How? What if?
  •  Flashcards for memorization
  •  Rewriting notes
  •  Rereading chapter summaries
  •  Looking over chapter outlines
  •  Rereading textbook
  •  Reviewing highlighted material from your textbook


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