Studying is the key to confidence
If you’re feeling stressed about your upcoming test, you may feel like you’re holding a bad hand of cards. We have some great solutions to help you prepare for your test without tears.
The first step in effective studying is using your planner to mark in your test days. Most teachers will give you at least a week’s warning before a test (unless they’re really cruel and like to do “pop” tests). When it comes to writing in your midterm or final exam dates, assume that you will be writing exams for all your subjects during exam week. When you use your planner to mark those dates, your mind is better able to “see” the amount of time that you have to prepare for your tests and exams.
Next, when you are at home, make a study plan.
Figure out what you already know. These are things that you don’t have to spend a lot of time reviewing, and going over them frequently will frustrate you rather than make you feel like you’re getting anywhere with your studying. Make a checklist of what you know so that you can skim past it in reading and review.
Now, make a plan for what you don’t know. Look at your calendar and schedule at least a half an hour a day until two days before the test to study just what you are having difficulty remembering. Make a list of your trouble spots, and as you master your problems you can scratch them off your problem list and add them to your “what you know” list.
If your test involves the use of equations and/or mathematical or scientific formulas, practice using those formulas and equations over and over again. Repetition of these formulas will help you develop a memory in order to master them. When you have succeeded in embedding them in your memory, add them to your what you knowlist.
Memorization can be a great way to remember various things. You may use any number of mnemonic devices and tips to help you remember important dates and people. For example, “in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Add to your list of what you know as you go.
When you get frustrated and you just can’t “get it”, give yourself a short break from studying. Let’s be honest, you’re NOT learning if you’re STUCK. Take a five minute “play” or social break. Get up, stretch, get a healthy snack from the kitchen or call a friend. Then get right back to it. You’ll find that you can often make progress far better this way. Remember to keep the breaks short – no more than ten minutes – so that you don’t get distracted from studying.
The day before your test is no time to spend studying. It’s a day to just relax and have fun. Do something you enjoy; go somewhere or have friends over. Make sure you get to bed early the night before your test and have a nutritious high-protein breakfast before you leave home. This will help fuel your brain, especially in the last minutes before your morning test. If you bring a lunch, make sure it’s a healthy one too, especially if your test is in the afternoon. With these test strategies in your hand, you’ll come out all aces.