How to Study for a Test

Learning how to study for a test is going to improve your grades throughout your school years, from elementary school all the way through post-graduate university work. Getting organized and knowing what you’re going to be tested on is an important part of the learning process, so we’ll cover that as we talk about studying skills.

Knowing how to study make you an efficient student, and therefore a better student. Studying properly also eliminates a lot of the frustrations of homework and tough exams.

Know the Subject Matter

First, learn from your instructor exactly what you’ll be tested on. Teachers always tell the class what part of the curriculum the test is going to cover, so pass attention and write down the teacher’s words, so you know exactly what the test is about.

Next, collect all the materials you have covering that subject. This includes not only lecture notes, but worksheets and pop quizzes your teacher has given you in the meantime. Keep these papers in a folder specific to that particular class, so your study materials are organized.

Read on the Subject

Cover the reading materials you’ve been assigned for this testing period. Reading and paying attention is always going to make a test easier, so make an attempt to keep up with your reading.

If you’re cramming for a test and don’t have time to make up all the lost reading time, then keep your book with you. Skim over the book and get an idea what is being focused on in your reading, so you’ll have an idea which concepts to study most.

When a term or concept that you’re studying doesn’t make sense, look in the glossary at the back of the book to see where that subject is covered. Look up the pages where that term shows up in your assigned reading for this examination, then read enough to make yourself familiar with the concept. This is targeted reading, and therefore targeted studying.

Prioritize Study Notes

Mark which terms and ideas that were highlighted by the lecturer. Get the basic terminology down that’s used, which helps you in trying to understand everything else about the study material. Mark the study notes with stars or yellow highlights on the notes that are important, including definitions and keywords.

Make a Study Sheet

Spend 5 minutes typing up or printing off a worksheet, with all the various study subjects you’ve covered since the last test. This lets you check off what you’ve already studied, to let you make a checklist of study subjects. Make notes on the study sheet, if there are any materials you find are difficult to absorb or understand, then go back and study these a second time, after you’ve covered everything else.

Write Questions – Answer Your Questions

You or a friend of yours in the class can write questions you think will be on the test, leaving enough space for answers. Then you can answer the questions, using your book and study materials. This is the classic “open book test”.

Use Flashcards

How to Study for a Test

How to Study for a Test

When studying vocabulary or basic terms, put them on flashcards. Write the answer on the back of each card, which is a way of studying. Studies show that writing down a piece of information is like reading that information three separate times, ie reinforces word retention three times better than simply reading it silently.

Study in a Quiet Place

Remember to study in a place that’s quite and distraction free. Study in a library or quiet room. Don’t have on the tv or radio, and don’t study in a restaurant or off-campus bar. This is not efficient studying. Instead, spend time studying, then go out some other time into the social scene.

If you do decide to relax with some music, make it instrumental music with no lyrics. This means you won’t be distracted listening to a person sing about some other subject. Studies show that classical music makes people smarter and aids studying, but if you hate classical music, consider finding a good trance station or chill station on iTunes that plays instrumental trance or chill songs.

Repetitious Study

Repeat your studies over and over again. Don’t skim over the material once. Continue to drill this information into your head, until you know exactly what you’re studying.

Avoid Study Sessions

Unless you simply cannot force yourself to study, don’t have study sessions. While study groups often encourage each other and gives extra input on what the test is going to be about and/or which material is most important, study groups also tend to involve a lot of talk about stuff other than your test, so it’s inefficient in most cases. Make decisions based on your group of classmates and your study habits, of course.

If you’re a good student, though, you probably don’t need a study session to get prepared for the test.

Don’t Wait to Study

Don’t wait until the night before to study for the test. Study a little bit at a time (that is, do homework), so you don’t have to cram for the test. Cramming isn’t the best way to prepare for exams.

Continue to Brush Up until Test Time

After you finish studying for the test, continue to review your study materials in your mind. This lets you get settled in your mind the correct answers and internalize the concepts.

Studying for Exams

Studying for the big test is a classic school year situation. Once you learn how to study for a test, you can apply those study skills in just about every subject you study. You can apply those study skills on every level of your education.

Don’t be that student with a good mind and lots of potential, but who can’t apply himself or herself. Instead, learn how to study for exams and ace your next test.

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