Each semester, we all make the same promise to ourselves that we aren’t going to study last minute before a test and change up our study habits. For most of us, these promises just about always fall through. With all of the responsibilities of college, time management can be a real challenge, not only in regards to homework and projects but especially with tests/exams. Because it can be difficult to manage time efficiently and balance your schedule, it can become easy to cram the night before a test and burn yourself out.
For some, this method of prepping for big tests works, but for most of us, it just leaves us feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. Though everyone has different study methods and routines, there are a few basic tips that we all can benefit from when it comes to prepping for a test. If you are lacking in the study department, looking to bump up your test scores, or simply wanting to become a better test taker, these five study tips will revitalize your routine and not only surprise your professor, but you as well!
Study Tips – Collect All Possible Information
A large part of test prep problems is not knowing what content is going to be on the test and what the format of the test is. Being completely unaware of information like this can completely throw you off guard which can make taking the test nearly impossible. Before you even start to study, ask your professor the most important topics/concepts to focus on and what chapters to study. Next, ask your professor what the form of the questions on the test will be: will they be true/false, multiple choice, short answer, matching, etc.? Some professors may not give up this information, but in my experience, most do. If you can get an idea of how the test is going to be laid out, you will definitely be able to conquer it!
Study Tips – Create Study Guides / Aids
One of the greatest ways to succeed in test prepping is to make your own study guide/aid. According to a 2013 study referenced in the Princeton Review, practice tests work better than simply highlighting or re-reading your notes. Scope out key terms and important headings/subheadings from your textbook and reference your class notes can help you create a practice test. Additionally, gathering the same information and applying it to flash cards or making an outline can help you retain information better and faster!
Study Tips – Study Before Bed
One of my worst habits is going on my phone, scrolling through social media before bed. Doing so stimulates my mind and only makes me more alert, not less sleepy. A great way to wind down is to study for a couple minutes before bed every night before the test. According to Shana Lebowitz of The Greatist.com, “During sleep, the brain strengthens new memories, so there’s a good chance we’ll remember whatever we review right before dozing off.” Though I’m sure the last thing you want to do before you close your eyes at night is to see formulas or memorize history dates. However, this study method can get you to sleep faster and help you retain information better!
Who doesn’t love candy? As a way to incentivize studying and getting to the next topic/chapter/page of what you are studying, place a gummy bear, M&M or candy of your choice throughout your guide. Doing this, you’ll definitely be more motivated to reach that next topic to get the candy, plus you’ll feel rewarded and accomplished after you get to that next point, which can inspire you more to get the job done!
Use Different Colors
When taking notes and building a study guide, one of the oldest and greatest pieces of advice is to colorize the hell out of your pages! Designate certain colors to specific subjects and use different color highlights to signal which concepts are more important/less important to study! Not only does this stimulate your brain, but it also helps you remember better!
Though studying can sometimes be a drag, having the right study tips to get you through it can make prepping for a test 100% easier. Always remember to study how you feel most comfortable and work at a pace that is best for you!