How to prepare an essay test: 11 steps (with pictures)

How to prepare an essay test: 11 steps (with pictures)
How to prepare an essay test: 11 steps (with pictures)

You might be wondering why the essay test is so dreaded by students. All in all, whether you like it or not, you will be required at one point or another in your school career to face a test composed entirely of dissertation. Fortunately, with a little preparation and practice, you can turn any fear that drives you before an exam into a boost of confidence, which will allow you to successfully tackle any essay test.


Part 1 of 3: Prepare well in class

Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 1

Step 1. Attend Classes

It may seem obvious, but the first step to passing an essay exam is taking the courses. By doing this, you will not only be able to hear your teacher's opinion on the topic, but you will also be able to participate in discussions within the class, which can help deepen your knowledge of the topic.. More importantly, the pupils who participate regularly in the course are constantly informed about the supports to be used and are better able to retain a good part of the concepts of the course.

  • Actively participate in the course. It's important to find a method that works best for you, whether that's by asking thought-provoking questions or making comments. Actively participating is about getting involved in some way in class. So even if you don't feel comfortable speaking in front of your classmates, try to ask questions often.
  • Free yourself from distractions. Put your cell phone away and take good notes. It's also not a good time to do the exercises in another class or chat with friends on Facebook.
Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 2

Step 2. Take notes

Another important benefit of attending class is taking notes. Although some teachers provide lecture notes, this is no substitute for your own note taking, as you are more familiar with your learning and study style. As you prepare for your essay, this can prove to be one of your valuable tools. So do yourself a favor by going to class and taking lots of notes.

  • Always have a notebook on hand. It can be effective to use a notebook per subject or per course, so that you do not get lost during your study time.
  • Be sure to date your note-taking so that you can quickly find the parts of the course your exam should cover.
  • If you have trouble taking notes, ask your teacher if you can record the lesson. You can replay the recordings to rewrite the content of a chapter at your own pace or review any part of the course. This can be very helpful for the exam.
Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 3

Step 3. Read

Reading your various documents completely not only helps you prepare for the course, but also saves you double effort later on. In other words, if you continually read your materials, you won't have to work tirelessly on a subject before the test in question, and it will make your preparation for the assessment less stressful.

  • Take notes as you read your books and prepare questions for the lesson.
  • Respect the deadlines set for the reading assignments. In general, these readings are distributed in such a way as to facilitate the assimilation of a given subject. However, if you are unable to keep up with the readings, discuss this with your teacher so they can work out a schedule that best suits your particular needs. For example, if there are books to read before a given day, you can split them so that you read portions each day.

Part 2 of 3: Review your documents

Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 4

Step 1. Gather your different notes

Having your cards and any other course material in one place makes the review and proofreading process easier.

  • In addition to having a grade sheet per subject, it would also be useful to have a binder or file per discipline which will help you collect all your records.
  • Become more and more organized by classifying each card according to the tests. Do not throw away your old cards or your old course materials. You could use this for the end of semester or end of year exams. Instead, arrange your documents as if they were chapters, with the first exam representing the first chapter and so on.
Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 5

Step 2. Find a quiet place to study

Stay away from distractions, such as noise, television, or radio. For example, it is good to have a place for study only at home. Others would prefer to go to the library or to a local cafe.

  • Limit phone calls and other distractions like messages. It may be helpful to put your laptop or other devices on silent while you study.
  • The television should be turned off at all times when preparing for an exam.
  • If you want to listen to music, make sure it is relaxing. Also, keep the volume low. Otherwise, the music can easily become a distraction.
Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 6

Step 3. Review your course materials

Once you have organized your documents, you need to begin the review process. Research has shown that reviewing a new concept within 24 hours of the day you learned it increases your ability to remember it to 60%. In other words, don't wait until the day before the exam to review your notes. Schedule your revisions over several days.

  • Get in the habit of rereading your materials after each class. This will help relieve exam anxiety, as you won't have too much to review and you will be able to clarify any questions that arise before D-Day.
  • There is no point in working tirelessly on a subject. Numerous studies have shown that spacing out the learning sessions is more effective than the act of logging. What is serious is that this way of proceeding only increases the feeling of hopelessness, which usually leads to panic and then anxiety.
Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 7

Step 4. Write a plan to spot interesting topics

When you are trying to retain a lot of information, you will need to study the concepts before the details and not the other way around. This is because it will be easier for you to study the details if you take the time to study the concepts and theory first. In other words, making an outline will help you organize a lot of information, making it easy to identify specific questions that might be the subject of an essay.

Developing a plan will also help you when preparing the answers to the essay, so you can practice a bit by starting with your course materials

Part 3 of 3: practice beforehand

Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 8

Step 1. Understand the structure of an essay

Get used to designing and writing an essay. Any essay should have an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 9

Step 2. Submit your answers

Keep in mind your subjects (already in the revision stage), sketch out the subjects that can come out of the test. Try to get a general idea and then organize the arguments behind this information using points.

  • Do not wait the day before to tackle this step. As you study and organize your lesson, bring out potential questions. You will be able to consult them and reread them if necessary.
  • Some teachers specify a given number of words for essays. However, don't just focus on the word count. Write what you can and look for illustrations to support your answers without exceeding the word count.
Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 10

Step 3. Recognize the different types of questions

Like any other test, essay papers include different types of questions. This tip will help you know ahead of time what you might face on D-Day so you can practice responding to each one. Here are some examples.

  • Identification: above all, identify short and direct answers.
  • The explanation: you are required to give more detailed answers.
  • The comparison: you have to look for similarities.
  • The argument: you can do it from your own point of view.
Prepare for an Essay Exam Step 11

Step 4. Review your answers

It is practice makes perfect. Once you have prepared the first draft of your responses, review your writing. Look for opportunities to present your point of view and clarify the content. Most importantly, be sure that you are answering the question that has been asked directly. If you don't, go back and reread the course materials in question.

  • This is the opportunity to proofread your work and look for any grammatical errors.
  • Also have your essay read to a friend, relative or classmate. It is often helpful to have an objective opinion on your work and to receive feedback.


  • For assessments where you are allowed to have your documents, study thoroughly anyway. This will prepare you for further exams and assessments where you will not be allowed to use the materials. Plus, it will help you finish the test easier and faster because you wouldn't need to dig through your book or your notes.
  • Be positive. If you are negative and think you are not going to be successful, chances are you will do what you have in mind.
  • Practice writing. Make sure you can write well enough so that you can clearly express your ideas.
  • Organize your notes and tidy your study room. Keeping everything in order will make your studies less stressful and prevent you from being disturbed by anything.
  • Incorporate studies into your daily schedule. It is easier to go through your notes daily than to log everything the day before.
  • Don't study the day before if you can avoid it. This will only cause stress and not help you in most cases.
  • Form a study group. Studying with friends can be really helpful.
  • Do not copy notes from friends or from textbooks. Use your own words to make sure you understand your own notes and make it easier to read later.
  • Never plagiarize. You could get caught and you could cause trouble. It is better to do wrong than to be penalized for plagiarism.

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