How to Study Effectively for Your Tests

Source: Jasmitha Keesara

By Armita Rohani

With Midterm week right behind us and tests being handed out to students every single day, effective studying is critical for getting a good grade as marking period 3 begins.

Don’t Cram; Plan Ahead
Studying the night before a test is stressful, and you most likely won’t be able to use all your resources or be confident on every single topic. It can push back your sleep schedule and take over other assignments or homework for that night. Besides, the information will be stored in your short term memory instead of long term, making it more ineffective. Plan out a study schedule that you can stick to, even if it is for only 15 minutes per night. This will target your long term memory storage, making studying more effective and understandable.

Use Study Groups Effectively
Studying with your friends is not always the best idea; you can easily get sidetracked and start talking about something else. For some people, studying in groups is completely ineffective, and they prefer something more individualized. Nevertheless, if you are going to study with your friends, make sure you stick to studying. Ask each other questions, review topics one of you may be struggling with, and use the “teacher method” and teach each other on the subject. Make sure you use your time wisely and that you won’t regret studying with your friends after the test.

Use Multiple Resources
Sometimes, all the topics won’t be covered in just your note packet. Refer back to old homeworks or assignments to see how you handled some of those questions, because the test is bound to have something similar to that. Read the textbook pages to extend what you already know and get a deeper understanding on the topic. Ask someone who already took the course about the test and see if you can use their notes, or if they have some advice. Go online and search for practice problems on something you’re unsure about. Taking them will give you an insight on how you’ll do for the test, and if you need to study some topics more than others.

Ask Questions
The best way to understand something is to ask questions. Whether it is your friends or your teacher, don’t be afraid to speak up and tell them you need help with something. Your teachers want to support you and can guide you through the studying process if you ask for their help. If you’re asking friends, make sure their answers are correct, because it can get you even more lost or lead you to answer something wrong on the test. If you’re having trouble understanding something, speak up and seek help for it.

Use Methods That Work For You
There are several ways people can study for a test. Whether it is using the “teacher method” and teaching someone else about the topic, rereading textbook pages, or rewriting notes, make sure you find a method that works for you. Do some research on how people study, and see what way of studying optimizes your time and makes you remember and understand the material better. This also applies to note-taking. Make sure you take notes effectively, in a system that helps you understand the information.

Choose Your Surroundings Carefully
The space in which you choose to study is just as important as the material you’re studying. Places where distractions are prevalent should be avoided. Choose a quiet place so that you can concentrate on the material and nothing else. Put the phone away; out of sight is out of mind. Make sure it is in a location that won’t have you reaching for it, or second guessing using it. Tell your family that you want to be undisturbed for the next hour or two, so that your main concentration is on your topic.