How to Study for an Exam

Arts and Education

Knowing how to study for an exam will allow you to demonstrate all those wonderful things you’ve learned come test-taking time. Here are some suggestions that can help improve your test scores:

Understand how you learn. Knowing how you learn will help facilitate an effective study program. Do you learn through discussing the material with a friend? Do you need a visual representation such as a chart, graph or picture to retain information? Does reading out loud help? How about flashcards? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, find out by taking a learning styles survey.

Know the test format. Good studiers approach a test differently depending on the format. You would prepare differently for a multiple choice test than you would for an essay exam, for example.

Organize. An efficient studier is an effective studier. An organized studier is an efficient studier. Get organized. Good organization means having your notes easily accessible. They should be written neatly and have titles, dates and topics clearly written.

Review frequently. Scholastic encourages students not to wait until the last minute to study. Ten minutes of review for six straight days is superior and is less tedious than 60 minutes of studying right before the test. Review your class notes on the day you take them. Find an effective note-taking system — Cornell notes or two-column note-taking, for example — that facilitates instant review.

Do the assignments. Keep up on reading assignments. Reading is best retained when done in small chunks. Highlight and write notes when necessary. This will make for a quick review when test time arrives. Homework assignments should fortify what you’re learning in class. Do them.

Ask questions. It’s quite possible you’ll have questions about the material before the exam. If you’re reviewing frequently and keeping up on classwork, you can get these questions answered before it’s too late.

Use textbook features. If test material involves information from a textbook, use textbook features to review main points. Textbook features include bold-faced words, end-of-the-chapter summaries, charts and graphs, review questions and chapter previews.

Schedule study time. An efficient studier maintains a daily agenda or planner. That planner should include test days and establish a time to study for the exam.

Designate a study area. Effective studiers have a learning-conducive spot where they work. Your study area should be in an area that allows for prolonged, concentrated studies.

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