Most students hate tests. They hate the feeling of trying to remember the answer to a question, worrying that they focused on the wrong material, and waiting to receive their results. Whether you learn at a traditional school or study from the comfort of your own home, chances are you’ll have to sit through many a test-taking experience. But, there are a few tricks you can learn now to avoid the worry before you’re in the heat of the moment. Give these five proven study tips a try and see how much better you feel during your next exam.
1. Survey your textbook or workbook before you read.
Take a couple of minutes to find the glossary, index, study questions, and other important information. Then, when you sit down to study, you’ll know where to find the answers you are looking for. Make sure you read any study questions before you read the chapter. These questions let you know what you can probably expect in any upcoming tests, papers, or projects
2. Attack your textbook with sticky notes.
As you read, summarize (write down the main points in just a few sentences) each section of the chapter on a post-it note. After you have read the entire chapter and summarized each section, go back and review the post-it notes. Reading the post-it notes is an easy and fast way to review information and, since each note is stuck in the section it summarizes, you can easily find the information you need.
3. Use a graphic organizer to take notes when you read.
A graphic organizer is a form you can use to organize information. As you read, fill out the form with important information. Then, use your graphic organizer to help you study for the test. Not only does this organizer let you record important terms, ideas, notes, and summaries, it also lets you quiz yourself on that information by folding the answers upside down.
4. Make your own practice test.
After you finish reading, pretend you are a professor who is writing a test for the chapter. Review the material you just read and make up your own practice test. Include all vocabulary words, study questions (they’re usually at the beginning or end of the chapter), and highlighted words you can find, as well as any other information you think is important. Take the test you’ve created to see if you remember the information. If not, go back and study some more.
5. Create visual flaashcards.
Flashcards aren’t just for primary students. Many college students find them useful as well! Before you take a test, make flaashcards that will help you remember important terms, people, places, and dates. Use one 3x5 index for each term. On the front of the card, write down the term or question you need to answer and draw a picture that will help you remember it. This will help ensure that you grasp the study material as you’ll find that it’s almost impossible to sketch something you don’t really understand. On the back of the card write down the definition of the term or the answer to the question. Review these cards and quiz yourself before your actual test.