It may be sad to admit but a perfectly written page of notes is all it takes for me to look at what is written. School supplies, penmanship, and organization have always been my thing. Never set me loose in a stationery store or Staples for that matter. Fortunately, if I am well prepared and organized (and stocked with colorful supplies, oh and a touch of coffee) I am a lot more likely to do well on a test!
I have never been a "good" test taker. When it came to the ACT and SAT I had to study a lot, go to workshops, and just see how it went. My brother on the other hand is a testing genius. With near perfect scores on majority of the tests he took in high school and now throughout college it has always left me a bit jealous. However if you ask my parents or even my brother who has better study skills they would say that I do. That is because be it standardized or not I have to work really hard for every grade I get and my study skills and methods are much more developed.
Everyone learns differently so this is solely what works best for me. If you have a tried and true method that has proved useful to you than it's probably in your best interest if you stick to that but feel free to implement some of my methods in if you think they will work!
It drives me crazy when people think that their presence in the library counts as studying. Keep in mind that studying isn't defined by the number of hours you put in including all those "study break" chats with your friends or times spent on social media (we are guilty for that one) but it is instead a total of the amount of distraction free time you are putting into a certain subject. With 2 midterms this week for me I thought now would be as good of time as any to re-share these tips with you!
With that in mind, I am a big fan of starting early. If you have a test on Friday beginning to study on the Sunday before is great and even ideal for me, especially if you have a busy schedule. Also, I am a visual learner and repetition of information proves to be a successful way for me to remember information for a test just to preface y'all. Here are my tips for studying!
start by typing up all of your notes
In class, I do not take notes on my computer. Instead I just whip out a spiral notebook and pen and that seems to do the trick. I know some people do prefer typing their notes the first go around as opposed to handwriting them and I realize this may seem repetitive to some however, I do better with repetition of the information. By beginning my studying by reading through and typing up my notes I am having a mini review session to get me geared up and remembering the information.
compare your typed notes with the notes you've taken in class
Whenever I am typing my notes up I try to do it in the most organized way that hopefully contains all of the information from my handwritten, in-class version. Since I am a human and we are prone to make mistakes I find it helpful to go through page by page comparing my typed version to the handwritten version. This is also a great way to write in any diagrams or images that you couldn't draw out on the computer which leads me to my next point -->
make notes on your typed notes
Sometimes notes in class are straight from a powerpoint or book and they aren't put in the best terms for understanding. Because of that I always find myself making notes on my type notes to consolidate an idea or better explain something. You'll find that my typed notes become a pleasant mix of computer fonts mixed with handwriting to make sure I am understanding and reading through what I have written.
Flashcards are my favorite. Rewriting things helps me to remember facts so this is another great way to keep reiterating important facts. I really like using the half size flash cards and I write down anything that I could possibly see on the test (so basically everything)!
make a consolidated study guide of listing and facts you need to know
If I ever have to know a bunch of different biomes or theories (yay for bio and education) or any other listing terms I put this on my consolidated study guide. The same goes for key words or facts that I am sure will pop back up. These usually overlap the flashcards but chances are if I am drilling it into my head time and time again I am going to remember it. I usually put my consolidated study guide on the front and back of one page of loose-leaf paper, that way if I am trying to brush up on all the important information on my way to the test it is consolidated and easy to access instead of trying to flip through your typed notes or flashcards to find something.
study your flashcards & study consolidated study guide
Um, duh! What is the point in making these if you don't study them. Don't think that putting the time and effort into creating them counts as studying because to truly learn the information you need to go through and quiz yourself!
have a friend quiz you or explain the concepts to a friend
Sometimes it can be tempting to peek at the answer and think you'll remember it next time. In all likelihood though you probably won't so by having a friend call the information out to you you remain accountable! Also, explaining concepts to friends is a great way to remember things and it also helps hit another sense, auditory learning! Chances are if you can explain it to a friend then you understand the concept!
I hope these tips help y'all out when it comes crunch time for your next test. I know it may seem like a lot but if you begin studying early enough you can break it up into manageable sections and learn it over the course of a few days instead of cramming the night before! Also, a good general rule of thumb is that for every 50 minutes of studying you should take a 10 minute break to allow your brain to refresh!
Watch this in video form…
Good Luck and let me know if you use any of these tips!