Shaping the Learner

Study Advice for Students

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Home How to Study for the Big Exam

How to Study for the Big Exam

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Today, you find yourself, like so many other students, stressing out over an exam that will determine whether you pass or fail a class. So, you have turned off the football game and are preparing to study for that killer test. Your laptop is open, your notes are scattered across your desk, and you have every color of highlighter imaginable. How can you use these tools to get a decent grade? Here is a concise guide on how to obtain an A on your next exam.

Things You'll Need:

•    highlighter
•    notes
•    textbook
•    paper

Pre Game Preparation: Look over your notes, and see what information you might struggle with. This is the information that needs the most time. Highlight important facts, people, numbers, and concepts, so that they will be easy to find later. Try to see if your book contains practice questions for each chapter. Can you answer them? If not, highlight them for another time. The most important thing during this period of time is to identify potential problems and important information.

Warm up: Rewrite or type out your notes. Reorganize them so that they will be easier to read and understand. This way, you will get a general feel of the material, and you will be able to find the information more quickly. If you find there is a section of your notes that you do not understand, open the book and look it up. Fill all holes in your information.

If you have a horrible memory for dates, or you can't remember that Avogadro number is 6.02 X 10^23, there is an easy solution. Turning them into phone numbers will make them easier to remember. Using Avogadro number as an example, you could write it as 602-1023.

Look at the questions in your book. Answer them as completely and correctly as possible without flipping through the pages. Once you have completed this step, try to rewrite your answer with more information from the text. Then, if you still feel that you do not have a clear understanding of the answer, try the questions again.

Test yourself. Predict questions that will be on the test, and write them down on a piece of paper. If you are studying for an English or History exam, include two short essay questions. This allows you to see what subjects you have a good understanding of, and which ones you still need to work on.

Ok, this one might sound a little goofy, but memorizing facts through songs and rhymes actually does work. Once, I had a teacher sing all of the Chemistry Elements to us. We never forgot it, no matter how hard we tried. Also, using mnemonics to memorize lists has proven to be a steadfast technique. For example, many beginner music students learn the mnemonic All Cows Eat Grass, to memorize musical notes.

Group study sessions are great when you do not understand a certain aspect of what you are studying. Study groups allow you to share your strengths and learn from others. Quiz each other, ask questions, and explain the key concepts.

Know your limits: If you feel like your brain is about to explode, take a break. A stressed out, tired mind is not going to register any of the information that you are studying. Take a little time to do something that you enjoy and helps you relax, or switch subjects for a little while. Also, if you feel that a technique is not working for you, don't use it.

Make sure you get a good night's sleep, eat a good meal in the morning, and try not to stress. If you really feel the need to cram some more information, wake up a little earlier than you usually do, but do not try to pull an all nighter. Studies show that people perform their best when they have a good night's rest and a full stomach.

Tips & Warnings

•    Not all of these steps will work for everyone. Experiment with them and see what works for you.


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