Everyone has a slightly unique approach to studying for a test or an exam. Different methods work for different people, but here are some helpful tips and suggestions to get the most out of your studying. Remember, good study habits will result in better grades!
During the Term
Go to class
Attending class is crucial in earning high grades in school. In most cases, teachers test more on what they say in class rather than what is in the textbook. Also, some teachers or professors are willing to give their punctual students helpful hints about what will be on the upcoming test. Not only that, but teachers normally recognize their students that attend their class consistently. Therefore, going to class is essential to receive high marks.
Take good notes in class and pay attention
Make sure your notes are clear and in point form. You don’t want them to brief, but you don’t have enough time in class or lecture to write full sentences for every important point. Remember that most notes you take in class can be related to something in the textbook, so brief notes do work for some students. In order for notes to be effective though, you must pay attention and take everything in!
Review the notes after class while it’s fresh in your mind to make sure they are complete
Repetition, repetition, repetition. Read over your notes so you can retain more of the information given in class. It also gives you the opportunity to supplement the point form with more detailed information pertaining to each point.
Complete the assigned reading on time
Assigned readings are assigned for a reason (your teacher will be designing tests based on your readings). Completing the readings will also help you with certain concepts and repeating important information.
Talk to the Teacher/Prof/TA after class with any questions
Not only will the instructor be able to clear up any confusing concepts or answer your questions, but it is also good brownie points! Teachers remember faces of students that demonstrate initiative and dedication.
Do homework and assignments
Just like the assigned readings, homework is for your own good. The practice questions/assignments are important for students to retain the information collected during class. Also, as insignificant as some may seem, assignment grades or homework bonus marks add up at the end of the year for the final grade.
The Week Before the Test
Manage time accordingly and make sure you leave yourself enough time to study
Try making a “To do” list, it will help you be more organized. Start early, and your preparation and organization may boost your mark from a C to an A!
Condense your notes to the most important points and concepts
While condensing your notes, you are also re-reading your work, and useful information will be stored in your memory.
Read/review the notes more than once
Repetition, repetition, repetition. It may also help to condense your notes further so that only the important concepts and information are included.
Find a comfortable and quiet place to study with no distractions
Not your bed as it may be tempting to fall asleep, because you don’t want to become too comfortable. Don’t make your study space the same area that you eat or watch TV as distractions can be created easily, and from anywhere!
Make sure you have all the course information with you (lecture notes, textbook, study guides, etc)
Keep all of these materials together with you in your study space, because you want all of the sources of information you can in one place. It’s important to remain organized.
Take short breaks frequently
Some people feel like too many breaks can distract you from learning, however, lack of breaks will make you become overwhelmed and frustrated. Too long of breaks, may make you too comfortable, so you need to discover an effective medium. Everyone needs stress-relievers.
Make sure you understand the material
Read over your notes carefully, it is not a race to the finish. The idea is to retain what you’ve read in your notes, not to read it the most number of times.
Find ways to stay motivated
It’s important to stay motivate by rewarding yourself with a break. Chocolate treats usually work too! Also, keep in mind that once you get through this last bit of studying, you’re done, so don’t stress yourself out too much.
Understand which study skills work for you (flash cards, pictures, colors, etc)
Try everything because once you find your niche, you can stick to it! Everyone has a slightly different method of studying, so practice different approaches.
You never know, some of your quiz questions for yourself may appear on the test! You are also unconsciously retaining more of what you’ve been reading from your study notes as well.
The Night Before the Test
Get lots of sleep
Don’t go into a test or exam tired, because then all you will be thinking about is getting back to sleep. Lack of sleep will increase stress and drain memory, not to mention it is unhealthy!
This will lead to lack of sleep and feeling overwhelmed and stressed. The resolution: be prepared, and don’t get scared!
Eat right, eat healthy
Health wise, it’s important to always eat healthy, but it can actually benefit your retaining of studied material. The day of your test or exam make sure you have a nice, big, healthy breakfast to wake up your brain. Brain food like fish the night before might help too!
Review your notes one last time before bed
Your brain will process all the information while you’re sleeping. It will help bring everything together, and then you can fall asleep thinking about all of the concepts learned.
Remember to simply relax! Stress will lead to poor test-taking.