Designate a daily study time. Studying for a test begins well before you reach exam day. You should set aside time every day to study so that you can learn the material you're expected to know.
Daily study sessions are needed to keep the material fresh in your mind and to give yourself time to make connections between concepts.
If you have other homework, you may decide to do it during your designated study time since it will help you better grasp the material.
By reserving a specific time each day for studying, it can be easier to focus, because you won't have to worry about any other priorities competing for your attention.
Arrange your study space to foster learning. Choose an area that is clean, well-lit, and free of distractions so that you can focus on your study materials. Make a habit of studying in the same place each day.
Avoid sitting in front of the television or around a busy part of your home.
Some people like to study in the library or coffee shop, but this may not work for you if you're easily distracted by movement or noises.
Gather your materials before you get started. You don't want to get started on your study session only to get derailed by not having what you need. Make sure that you have your texts, notes, writing utensils, highlighters, and other necessary supplies.
Turn off your electronics. Electronic devices are a big distraction, so remember to turn off your phone and television. When you need to use your computer during your study session, stay away from social media, email, and off-topic websites.
Keep your cell phone away from you, as it will distract you. Only check your emails or messages after studying, during break time.
Charge your cell phone while you're studying. Your cell phone will need the extra boost, and you'll be happy that your phone is away from you.
Use a notebook or planner to track your assignments. Write down semester, weekly, and daily goals to keep track of what you need to study. For example, you may list all of your exams for a course on your semester plan, then break down your weekly study sessions leading up to each exam. From there, you can make a daily to-do list.
You can also use a wall planner and to-do lists to keep track of assignments and what you plan to study each day.
Create a study plan. Make a timetable for exam days by marking the dates on the calendar in your planner, calendar, or notebook. Work backward to plan how you will study for the exam. For example, designate the days you want to focus on that subject, and which sections you will review each day.
It's okay for your plan to be a general outline. Don't let your planning waste the time you plan to use for studying.
Break the information down so you're only tackling a little each day. That can keep you from feeling overwhelmed, and it will be easier to reward yourself continuously for sticking to your plan.
Read the course materials and texts. You should have a textbook for each course, and your instructor could also assign other books or articles for you to read. Don't skim the texts or read a summary. Good study habits require that you read all of the assigned texts.
If you can, highlight the important parts of the texts.
Research anything you don't understand and look up confusing vocabulary. Make yourself a flashcard on the spot so that you'll have it for later.
Take and review notes, filling in gaps with your own research.During class and as you read the course materials, write down the key points and topics you want to further research later. When you get home from school, it's a good idea to go through your notes from the day and try to fill in any gaps where you missed items or didn't quite understand. As you study for your exams, look up any information that isn't clear to you so that you can get more information.
It's crucial that you review the information in the weeks and days leading up to the exam. The more you revisit the information, the more it will become internalized and easier to remember.
Record your class lectures on a digital recorder or your phone. You can then listen to the recordings as often as you need to so that you grasp the material. You can also fill in the gaps in your notes.
Check with your teacher or professor to make sure that it's okay to record the lecture.
Don't use this as an excuse to not take notes during class. You should still take notes to help yourself learn the material.
Make yourself flash cards. Flashcards are a great way to study your material, especially vocabulary, key points, and lists. For example, you could put scientific processes, mathematical formulas, or historical figures that you need to know on flashcards.
Try using index cards to make your flashcards or cut up a piece of paper.
Additionally, you could use an online tool like quizlet or Kahoot to create flashcards and practice quizzes.
Make mind maps. Mind maps are graphical illustrations of your topic and a great memory tool to use, especially during exams. For example, you can create a web connecting the ideas you're studying, or create a doodle based on your notes. Be creative in how you arrange your notes when you make your mind map.
Ask someone to quiz you. When you get closer to your exam, ask a parent, friend, or your teacher to quiz you over the information. You can create example questions for them to ask you, have them question you from the review, or let them question you from your notes. This will show you if you need to review any topics before the actual exam.
Adjust your study habits depending on the type of exam. You may be taking a multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, essay, short answer, or another type of exam. Many exams incorporate more than one style of question.
For a multiple-choice exam, make lists and tables, know the differences between concepts and words, and know-how topics are related to each other.
For a fill-in-the-blank exam, focus on your notes because most teachers take their questions from the notes they provide. You should expect your teacher to remove an important word or words from a sentence, such as a term, date, phrase, or historical figure.
For an essay or short answer exam, pay attention to what your instructor emphasized in class. Write out what you know about this topic and do additional research if necessary. Use the syllabus, study guide, and textbook summary of the material to make a list of possible questions. Create a study list for each possible essay question.
Take a break about halfway through your study sessions. Get up and walk around, stepping away from your study space. You can grab a snack, go for a short walk, or do some stretches. Try to clear your mind so that you can start fresh when you go back to your study space. Your break should last for 5-15 minutes, depending on how long you're studying.
Some people benefit from shorter, more frequent breaks.
You should also take a break when you're feeling frustrated.
If you were studying using a computer or other electronic device, don't use devices during your breaks. Your eyes will thank you!
Seek tutoring if you're struggling with the material. You can go to your teacher, a classmate, or your parents for tutoring. You may even want to hire a private tutor. Getting a little extra help is normal, so ask questions as soon as you feel yourself getting behind.
Many schools offer free tutoring from teachers or peers.
Join a study group. Study groups share notes, thoughts, and ideas. Working in a group will allow you to bounce ideas off of your peers. You can help each other better understand concepts that might be difficult to learn by yourself. Bonding with someone who shares your struggles, hopes, and goals is very inspiring. You can mutually mentor and quiz each other and monitor the performance of scheduled tasks. The feeling of collective responsibility makes students less prone to laziness and pushes them to make concerted efforts on the way to educational success.
Look for a study group at your school.
Visit the local or school library to find postings about study groups on the bulletin board.
Ask your friends to form a study group with you.
Teach the material to someone else. One of the best ways to understand and retain material is by teaching it to someone else! Work with a friend in the same class, or teach the concepts to your parents or siblings. You could even tutor a younger student in the subject if you feel confident in your understanding of the material. Their questions can help you think about the material in new ways.
Reward yourself for meeting your study goals. Plan a small reward for each day you study, such as time playing your favorite game, a piece of candy, or money to set aside for something you really want. Think of weekly goals for meeting each daily goal that week, such as few hours with your friends or a weekend sleepover.
When you're getting started, attach your reward to your behavior, such as studying each day, rather than the outcome, which would be your grade.
Ask your parents or roommate to help you with the rewards. They may be able to give you an allowance for meeting your study goals, or they could hold onto the candy and give you a piece when you earn it.
Manage your stress leading up to the exam. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and nervous before an exam. To help reduce stress, do an enjoyable and relaxing activity, such as yoga, meditation, or exercising. You could also listen to calming music, spend time with your friends, color, or read.
Avoid cramming the night before. Cramming the night before an exam has not been proven to improve grades. Instead, take time to prepare in the weeks and days before the exam. The night before, you should eat a healthy meal and make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep. These strategies are a much better alternative to prepare you for the exam than cramming.
Incorporate images if you're a visual learner. Look for visual representations of what you're learning, such as photos of a historical figure, a map for geography, or illustrations of a cell for cellular biology. You may even want to check out documentaries online.
Other great options are to color code your notes, use a highlighter, draw diagrams, or sketch out what you're learning.
Use mnemonics and mental imagery to help you recall certain rules and formulas. For instance, in math, you might use the acronym PEMDAS (parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) to remember the order of operations in an equation.
Listen to music or an audiobook if you're an auditory learner. Music can help your mind focus while you read, or you could try finding your text as an audiobook. Some textbooks include digital access to an audio file or even include a CD. If you're reading a novel for class, look for the audio version.
You can also try reading your notes out loud or explaining what you're learning aloud to someone else.
Build movement into your study sessions if you're a kinesthetic learner. Some subjects, such as science, are easier to pair with movement since you can build models of what you're studying. You can always hang up a whiteboard or poster board in your room, then stand at it while you write out the important concepts or create a diagram of what you're learning. This allows you to move as you process the information, which will help you learn.Other great options include role-playing, making a model, or creating a representation of what you're learning.
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