#3. Do Exam Problems
There is no way to say this without sounding patronizing: If you're preparing to do an exam, prepare by doing exams. Every year millions of students do their first exam-style problem in the exam hall, and if there's one thing we learned from college it's that the first time you do anything important, you suck at it. Even if you suck at it.
"I wish he'd study a little harder. And not fall asleep during the first question."
Odds are your course wasn't created this term. They've been asking the same questions for years, and the only reason they even pretend to change the wording is because they'll lose their accreditation if they don't. Exam banks, older students, just Googling your course code and the word "exam," there's no excuse for not practicing what you actually have to do. Many students think of preparing for exams like Dragon Ball Z: You focus and concentrate all sorts of power with endless text for weeks, then fire it all out in one perfect blast. But exams are just like everything else. You get good at things by doing them as many times as possible. Which is also most students' real plan in college anyway.
#2. Skip the "I'm So Screwed" Competitions
"I'm so screwed!" The attention-seeking cry of the idiot, one who knows they desperately need to fix themselves but would rather have attention for being useless instead. It's the American Idol of exam season.
SCENE: Library, two dumbasses.
A: Omigod I'm so screwed for this test!
B: I didn't go to half the lectures!
A: Well I didn't go to any!
B: Well I ran over the professor's wife!
A: Well I'm brain-damaged because I was having sex with her in front of the professor when you hit her!
B: Oh hey, I just realized that there are other college students having sex with each other right now!
#1. Don't Complain That the Lectures Didn't Prepare You for the Exam
Complaining that the exam was unfair is generally the best way to go through the uncomfortable process of failing a class, while not learning that any of the above strategies are bullshit.
The most common post-exam complaint is, "Why didn't the lectures just teach us how to do the exam?" For the same reason sex isn't just wetting a condom and throwing it in the toilet. Your professors are actually trying to teach you the subject. Exams aren't the point of education. They're the flaccid little appendix we still sort of need to test if people have been turning up. Exams used to be walking into a room with all the smart people and just talking to them until they decided whether you were a dumbass or not. We suspect most students don't want to go back to that.
I'm sorry, but here at The Real World Incorporated there's no multiple choice section. You actually have to know what the fuck you're talking about.
Now that higher education isn't just for nobility we can't do it that way. Hundreds of thousands of people get into higher education. This is progress. But it's not going to be a perfect system.
You're in college to learn how to think and do things. Exams are an extremely small part of that. If you treat the only minor obstacles in four years of opportunity unmatched in the entire history of human civilization as a huge hassle to be avoided, you're right when you say the educational system isn't working for you. But it's not the educational system's fault.
For more emergency exam advice you can read 11 Exam Study Tips For The Completely Screwed, or review The 6 Best College Majors (For Filling You With Regret).
Luke McKinney has three degrees and has therefore undergone more examinations than Moon rocks. This scientific background lends an air of professionalism to his complaints about Modern Warfare 3 players. He also tumbles and has a website.