Are you nervous about your next test? Do you ever have a hard time focusing on your studies and find yourself scoring lower than you’d like? Well then you’re going to want to read the rest of this blog because I have eight tips to help you get ready for your next big test!
Create An Organized Study Space With No Distractions
The first step to productive study sessions is making sure you are in a clean and organized area where it is easy to focus. Having a space with minimal distractions is vital to the success of your study session. When you are trying to memorize and understand new information, your brain doesn’t retain as much if your train of thought is interrupted. Create a quiet work space with minimal distractions somewhere in your house and make it your own!
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. That is the key to retaining information that can be harder to wrap your head around. Whenever I was getting ready for a big test, I used to study a little bit every night leading up to a test instead of trying to cram the night before. I found that I felt a lot more confident going into a test when I studied this way. I would gradually make it a little harder on myself each night. The first night or two I would just review material by reading notes. Then I would look at the definitions and see if I could guess the terms, then reverse it and begin reciting the definitions and drawing diagrams from memory. Making studying into a habit instead of something you cram in right before a test will improve your understanding of the content and hopefully your test performance as well.
Make your own study materials
Making your own flashcards and study guides is a great way to help ensure that your brain files away new information. Another perk to making your own materials is that you can do it in a way that works best for you. I tended to incorporate mnemonics in my flashcards and it made a huge difference! Making your own study guides also means rewriting your notes and drawing diagrams that also help to aid your brain in storing information in your long term memory.
Study Material in Sections
One of the biggest mistakes that students make is trying to cram all the information in the night before the test. Your brain is not likely to remember most of it and it also leads to high levels of stress. Breaking up the material into sections and studying it in chunks is a great way to minimize stress and make studying a little easier. It can feel overwhelming when you have three or four chapters of content to go over, so break that up and gradually study more each day leading up to the test. Breaking it up also gives your brain time to absorb the material before trying to grasp new material.
While taking breaks may seem counterproductive it actually helps you when you’re studying. Taking study breaks is often overlooked but will help because it gives your mind an opportunity to recover and rest. Breaks may lead to higher levels of retention, less stress, and improved mood while studying.
According to an article posted by The Learning Center, moving and taking breaks to move around while you are studying is good for your mind, body, memory and academics. You could keep yourself moving by standing while you work, pacing the room while you review, going for a walk while you take a break between sections, or doing exercises every now and then as you study. This will help to improve the effectiveness of the study session but also enhance the overall experience.
Figure Out What Works For You
Everyone is different and we all learn best in slightly different ways. It is important to understand what your learning style is so that it is easier for you to figure out a study routine that will work best for you. Some learn best by doing hands-on activities or practicing, some are more visual and need to see someone else do it or see it explained with pictures, and others learn best by reading and hearing something explained. Once you know what works best for you, use that knowledge to help you create a custom study routine to give you the maximum level of success possible.
Get Good Sleep The Night Before The Test
This is one that I can not stress enough- get a good night’s sleep the night before a test! Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep right before a test will make sure your brain is alert and ready to function the way an exam requires. I used to be the kind of person that stayed up late the night before a test reviewing materials and stressed out about how I would do. It took me a long time to learn that it is in my best interest to spread out my studying. Then the night before a test I can go to sleep knowing that I did what I could to prepare.
Good luck on your test! One way to know if you have prepared enough is by asking yourself “have I done everything I can to get ready for this test?” If the answer is no, then you should adjust your study plan. If your answer is yes, then no matter what you score on the test, you should be proud because you did your best and earned that grade. As always, your friends at LifeTech are happy to help you if you would like any additional tips.