Preparing for an Engineering Exam

by Grant Anderson

College students are under immense amount of stress due to financial anxiety, social concerns, and thinking about getting a job after college. But these stressors do not even include what I believe to be the most stressful part of college – taking exams. As a senior Mechanical Engineering student, I have tried mastering the protocol behind studying for an exam. However, there really is no right or wrong way to study. That being said, here are some tips on how to study for a tough upcoming exam:

  1. Make an equation sheet – Most engineering courses, besides calculus, allow students to have a sheet of paper with equations on it. This is an engineer’s lifeline. While studying, keep that equation sheet organized so that there is always room to add a little bit more information.
    Engineering 1
  2. Look over previous notes – Knowing the theory behind the material in the class can greatly improve your understanding. By going through class notes, you can improve your knowledge of what is being covered in the course and what topics are being emphasized.
    engineering 2
  3. Carefully look over problems – Example problems covered in class typically give a hint to what types of problems will be on the exam, but there is no limit to the amount of practice you can have. Look over previous homework problems and make sure you understand them, then look at book problems as another resource. This will only enhance your knowledge of the material.
    Engineering 3
  4. Review your equation sheet – Knowing exactly where each formula is on your equation sheet can save precious time during an exam. Look through the equation sheet and make sure every equation is clearly written, the variables are labeled, and you know how they are used. Also, don’t shy away from writing an equation you don’t think will be on the test. I’ve done that before, and it came back to haunt me on the test.

Sometimes reading through notes works, other times looking at the book helps. Sometimes, after studying for numerous hours, just relaxing and clearing your mind may be the best way to relax and prepare. Go into the exam knowing you prepared as much as possible, and that whatever happens, you did your best. Most of the time, you will get the grade you’re looking for.


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