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Per Starke
Per Starke

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How I VERY successfully used ChatGPT for Exam Preparation - and how it can help you

I recently had an extremely important oral exam, the last thing I needed to finally finish my bachelor degree!
This exam covered way more topics than any exam I had before, partly from lectures I've had 3 years ago, so I needed to come up with a solution how I could effectively prepare - and came up with an unlikely ally: ChatGPT.

In this post, I'll share how I utilized ChatGPT to prepare for my exam effectively and how it can help you as well.

As writing good prompts (messages) to ChatGPT is crucial for getting good answers, I'll share some example prompts I used.


As a student, preparing for exams often seems like a mountain to climb. However, my approach changed dramatically when I decided to use ChatGPT for my recent oral exam preparation. Here's how it unfolded.

Key Realizations

Before diving into the methods, it's crucial to understand two things:

  1. Time Investment is Essential: Using ChatGPT doesn't reduce the amount of time you need to put into studying. It's a tool, not a shortcut.
  2. Accuracy Check: ChatGPT, like any AI, can make mistakes. Always cross-check the information provided.

Why ChatGPT?

I opted for the Pro-Version of ChatGPT (and I'm not sponsored to say this). It's a game-changer for studying, especially for my specific methods.
For example the possibility to upload files like lecture slides offers amazing opportunities which are very helpful for exam preparation.

Tailoring ChatGPT for My Exam

Exam Details and Customization

How exactly you study of course depends on your exam type and the topics. I will explain what I did, but you might customize this approach to suit your own needs.

Here are my relevant exam details:

  • Exam Type: Oral exam, focused solely on questions.
  • Content: Covering content from several lectures over the past few years, belonging to the overall topic of Cognitive Neuro Psychology.
  • No Access to Mock Exams: I had no prior samples or mock exams to practice with.

Setting Up ChatGPT for Studying

ChatGPT pro allows you to create your own GPT version, which you can provide with individual information and instructions (can be found at: "explore" and then "Create a GPT" and then "Configure").

  • I created a custom GPT especially for this exam prep.
  • I provided it with details about the exam, such as the type of exam and type of exam tasks as well as the general topic.
  • I instructed the GPT to summarize information in a detailed and correct, but also engaging, and fun manner. This can make memorizing things and staying focussed way easier.
This GPT shall help me prepare for my oral exam. This exam consists of verbal questions only, covering the topic of Cognitive Neuro Psychology and the topic of Sleep and Dream.

When files are uploaded and asked to sum up, be detailed, precise and correct. Furthermore, try to sum them up in a somewhat playful, funny or exciting way, because this can help for disciplined studying.

When asked for questions, give the answers only when being asked for them.

Always make sure to not include incorrect or random information.
Focus on the content of the files that are uploaded to the chats, either lecture slides or additional readings.
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My Study Approach

Focused Environment

  • Distraction-Free:
    • I put my phone in a different room (or in my backpack when I worked in cafés or so).
    • I used noise-cancelling headphones whenever I was somewhere else than home for studying.
    • Consistently stayed away from emails, Instagram etc. during study sessions.
  • Mindset: Approaching studying as an adventure rather than a task. Sounds weird at first, but really helps!
  • Fun Elements:

    • Asking ChatGPT for engaging and fun summaries and to use illustrating examples.
    • Probably listening to music if that doesn't distract you too much (depends on the type of music and also a lot on your liking).
    • Changing study environments: Different rooms, sometimes at home, sometimes in cafés, ...
  • Work-Break Ratio: 25-50 minutes of work followed by a 5-10 minute break. (Looking at your phone is NOT A BREAK! Trust me. Your brain can't relax well while looking at your phone.)

Lecture Recap with ChatGPT

First, I recapped all lectures. For each lecture / overarching topic I used a new chat with the Exam-Prep-GPT I created. Having a new chat for each new lecture / topic is helpful later on!

  • Uploading Lecture Slides: I uploaded a file containing the lecture slides and asked ChatGPT to sum them up

This is the first part of the lecture on attention. Please sum it up for me.

(It has been shown that being polite to ChatGPT can acutally increase the answer quality).

  • Accuracy Check: I compared ChatGPT's summaries with the original slides and internet research to correct any misinformation.
  • Interactive Learning: After each lecture, I asked ChatGPT for questions covering all topics from this lecture.

Provide me with possible exam questions on the first lecture part of the attention lecture, covering all relevant topics from this lecture.

I tried to answer them as good as possible in my head, and then asked ChatGPT for detailed answers, which I read carefully and compared with what I thought.

Give me detailed answers to those questions

If I got something wrong, I reviewed that topic again to understand my mistake or get clear about things I didn't understand yet.

  • Consolidated Review: After covering a few lectures, I recapped everything studied so far. Repetition is crucial for the brain, so recapping everything done so far every 2-4 lectures/topics is extremely important.

Practice Sessions

After I recapped all lectures and topics, and did a lot of interactive learning with questions for each lecture, I considered myself done with the recap-part.

Recapping was part 1 of my studying, the second part was: practice. As I didn't have any mock exams or similar, ChatGPT again came in very handy.

Even if you have access to mock exams, doing what I did plus of course also using your mock exams as practice might be a good idea.

  • Generating Exam Questions: I asked ChatGPT for possible exam questions. As each chat covered one lecture, I could just write in the chat that I needed questions and exam tasks covering all the content from this lecture.

Provide me with 10 possible exam questions, matching the exam task style, covering all relevant topics from the whole lecture.

  • Written Responses: I wrote my answers and let ChatGPT review them, providing feedback on what was good, what wasn't so good and how an improved answer could look like.

Here are my answers. For each answer, give me feedback on what was good, what could have been improved, and provide me with a detailed improved answer. *(insert answers here)*

  • Randomized Order: I didn't follow a set order in topics to keep the practice unpredictable. This prevents your brain from "overfitting" to a specific order of topics and better prepares for the exam situation.

I did one set of 10 questions for each lecture, and repeated this 3 times, so in total, I had 30 questions answered for each lecture, which provided me with a good amount of practice.

If things are unclear

If anything was unclear, during recapping or during practice, I asked ChatGPT for simplified explanations in easy words.

Explain those brain oscillations you mentioned in the summary in a very simplified way using easy words, because I did not understand that topic yet.

These were usually extremely easy to understand, and after that, I could ask for a little more detailed and complicated explanation.
Using the knowledge I gained from understanding the easy explanation, I then managed to understand the more complex one as well.
This trick helped me a lot for difficult topics.

Now give me a more detailed and precise explanation of the same topic, with less focus on making it extremely simplified, but still explain it in a way that is good and easy to understand.


My experience with ChatGPT for exam preparation has been overwhelmingly positive. It changed my study habits for the better and made learning more engaging and efficient. If you're considering using AI for your studies, I highly recommend giving it a try!

But, I always had to remind myself that this is a tool, not a shortcut, and I still needed to put in the work. Also, cross-checking all information was important.
First, this helped in gaining even better understanding, second, ChatGPT summarized and explained most things extremely well, but it did make 1-2 mistakes in total, which isn't a lot, but still shows that verifying information is important.

I wish you a lot of success for your next exam :)

Originally published on my own website

Top comments (1)

boredombot profile image
TechBot • Edited

I also use ChatGPT to help me study, it makes it so much more engaging, I even created a site so everybody can study like I do as a side project, I use it whenever I'm cramming: if anybody else is interested