Guide to Study Tips and Test Taking
Students with better study methods and strategies score higher on their exams. Everyone is different and different methods work for different people. The following are some suggestions on improving studying techniques.
- It is best to review the material several times.
- Don’t try to do all of your studying the night before the test. Instead, space out your studying, review materials at least several times a week, focusing on one topic at a time.
- Find a comfortable and quiet place to study with good lighting and little distractions (try avoiding your own bed, it is very tempting to just lie down and take a nap).
- Learn the general concepts first, don’t worry about learning the details until you have learned the main ideas.
- Take notes and write down a summary of the important ideas as you read your study material.
- Take short breaks frequently. Your memory retains the information that you study at the beginning and the end better than what you study in the middle.
- Space out your studying, you’ll learn more by studying a little every day instead of waiting to cram at the last minute. By studying every day, the material will stay in your long-term memory. When you try to study at the last moment, the material will only reside in your short-term memory and you’ll easily forget.
- Make sure that you understand the material well, don’t just read through it and try to memorize everything.
- If you choose to study in a group, only study with others who are serious about studying.
- Test yourself or have someone test you on the material to find out your weak and strong areas. You can take the practice tests at the end of each section or use the flash cards for review.
- Listening to relaxing music can relieve some of the boredom of studying.
- Don’t study later than the time you usually go to sleep or you might fall asleep or be tempted to go to sleep. Instead, try studying in the afternoon or early evening. If you are a morning person, make time to study in the morning.
Tips for Better Test Taking
- Arrive early for tests. Good preparation helps you focus when the time comes.
- Be comfortable but alert. Maintain comfortable posture in your seat, but don’t slouch.
- Stay relaxed and confident. Keep a good attitude and remind yourself that you are well-prepared and are going to do well. If you find yourself anxious, take several slow, deep breaths to relax.
- Don’t talk about the test to others just before entering the room: their anxiety can be contagious.
- Read the directions carefully. This may be obvious, but it will help you avoid careless errors.
- If there is time, quickly look through the test for an overview. Note key terms, jot down brief notes.
- Answer questions in a strategic order:
- Answer easy questions first to build confidence, score points, and mentally orient yourself to vocabulary, concepts, and your studies. It may also help you make associations with more difficult questions.
- Then difficult questions or those with the most point value.
- With objective tests, first eliminate those answers you know to be wrong, or are likely to be wrong, don’t seem to fit, or where two options are so similar as to be both incorrect.
- Review: Resist the urge to leave as soon as you have completed all the items Review your test to make sure that you:
- have answered all questions;
- did not mis-mark answers; and
- did not make simple mistakes.
- Change answers to questions if you made a mistake, or misread the question or if you find information elsewhere in the test that indicates your first choice is incorrect.
- Decide on and adopt study strategies that work best for you.
- Review your test preparation and identify those habits that worked well and replace those that don’t!
Jeff Sorg is a co-founder of OnlineEd®, a Web-based vocational school founded in 1997 where he also serves as Corporate Secretary, Chief Operating Officer, and School Director. Sorg holds vocational instructor licenses in Oregon, Washington, California, and Nevada and has authored numerous pre-licensing and continuing education courses. Sorg was awarded the International Distance Education Certification Center’s CDEi Designation for distance education in 2008.
OnlineEd® provides real estate, mortgage broker, insurance, and contractor pre-license, post-license, continuing education, career enhancement, and professional development and designation courses over the Internet.