How to Study for a Test

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Many students are surprised that there are actual methods for studying. With the progression of each academic year, students frequently discover they need to adapt their study habits. With a few tips and a tad bit more discipline, students can quickly learn to have a school/social life balance.

Time management

Note taking skills and study techniques are techniques that will help from 1st grade through graduate level studies. Correctly implemented, this skill will ensure you and/or your child’s academic success. The idea of scheduling constant times to study may seem daunting, but the reality is actually very pragmatic, and not as time consuming as you would think.

Time management is the single most important technique to develop for studying. Everyone has the same amount of time available to do whatever it is they need to do- 168 hours per week. What can initially start out as only 15 minutes of true study can turn into 2 hours without the proper time management? You make the choices as to how you spend your own time. Some ways to manage your time are:

  • Schedule your study times in twenty to fifty minute blocks followed by 5 to 10 minute breaks. Schedule specific subjects for specific times
  • Record all fixed time commitments throughout the week – classes, labs, working hours, etc.
  • Schedule other routine daily activities – eating, sleeping, dressing, etc.

Take Notes

It is important to take notes so that you will have a record of what the teacher thinks is important. You should take down the main ideas and as much additional information as possible in order for you to have sufficient material for later review.

  • Make your original notes legible enough for your own reading and use abbreviations of your own invention when possible.
  • Make your original notes legible enough for your own reading and use abbreviations of your own invention when possible.
  • If your instructor talks fast, it may help to bring an audio recorder and record the lecture while taking notes. After the lecture is over you can replay the lecture and fill in any parts that you missed in your notes.

Study Techniques

Study skills are the skills you need to enable you to study and learn efficiently – they are an important set of transferable life skills. As you develop your study technique, you will find techniques that do and do not work for you. That’s ok. Not everything is useful to everyone. But there are some generic skills that can help you achieve academic success.

  • Use 3″ x 5″ index cards. Write the questions on one side and the answers on the other side, and use them as flash cards.
  • Take time to review. When you study, spend 10 minutes in review of previous assignments. These are “refresher shots” – a secret to long-term memory. Frequent review results in less time needed studying for major tests.
  • Study during the day. It is much harder to focus at night.
  • Work all assigned problems, and then work some more, even if the assignment will not be collected. In math and science courses where memorization is crucial, it is helpful to over learn the material.

When you put all of these skills together, you will find it much easier to focus on academics. These skills are just a few tools that you can use to make sure that you succeed academically. There are plenty of other tools and skills that may work even better for you. The key is to find what combination of study skills work best for you, and consistently put them to use.

Implementing good note taking time management and practical study skills will lead to academic success. Also, you will be able to transfer these basic skills to your regular life. When you know what to do, how to do it, and how much time you have to do it, life tends to go by much easier. Who knew that what you learned in high school really would transfer to your adult life?

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