Whether you are in high school, college, or just taking classes, it is crucial that you do well on exams. While some people claim they are simply not good test takers, there are strategies that anyone can use to improve their test scores. This article provides 4 tips on how to study for exams to help you achieve your best in school and beyond.
Restate the Information in Your Own Words
Anyone can blindly memorize dates and facts but this does little good on a test that requires critical or contextual thinking. Even with the best lecture notes or a recording of the class, you may still not fully grasp the concept. To ensure you have done more than just memorize a topic, it is important that you are able to explain the topic in your own words. This ensures not only that you will recall the material on exam day, but also that you will be able to put it into context later. Forming study groups provides you with the opportunity to explain the concepts to others while reinforcing your own understanding by listening to your fellow members.
Know Your Subject
It is important to tailor your approach to the subject you are trying to study. Certain subjects require you to know things while others require you to do things. For example, while studying for a literature class, you may simply read over your notes to remember terms and concepts. However, when studying for a chemistry test, you must actually perform the equations to remember how to solve the problems that will be on the test. Knowing the difference between these approaches is the key to success.
Use Previous Exams
While the past is not always an indicator of the future, it tends to be with exams. Teachers and professors generally find an exam format they like and stick with it. Therefore, it is important that you review your old tests and quizzes (no matter how painful it may be) to get a sense of how the teacher will grade and what he or she requires. This will also assist you in coming up with a plan to manage your time because you will know which sections will give you the most trouble.
Take Regular Breaks
The human mind is an extraordinary thing but it has its limits. After several hours of studying, it will become harder for you to concentrate. One way to combat this is to take short breaks at regular intervals. I suggest taking a 5-10 minute break every hour or so. Use these to get a snack to check your Facebook account. When the break is through, you will be refreshed and ready to concentrate again.