How to Study for a Test

Preparing in advance will improve your performance

When your instructor tells you to study for your test, do you know how? Or do you stare blankly at your notes and wonder what to do next? If studying is a mystery to you, try these suggestions next time you have an exam coming up:

1. Know what the test is about
Before you even begin studying, make sure you know what the test is going to cover. If your course syllabus isn’t clear, then ask your instructor. There’s nothing worse than showing up for a test and realizing you studied the wrong material.

2. Save your homework
Ever wonder why you have so much homework? Teachers give you homework in order to improve your understanding of the material. And reviewing your homework is a great way to begin studying for a test. Take a look at all your homework assignments. See what you got wrong. See where you struggled. These are the areas that you might want to focus on when preparing for your test.

3. Set your notes up for success
If you are like many people, you scribble notes in your notebook as fast as you can. They may not be very organized or legible, given that you have to write them so quickly. When it’s time to study for an exam, try using these helpful tips to clean up your notes:

  • Re-write your notes neatly. For many people, re-writing notes actually helps them understand the information better than simply re-reading the notes.
  • Read your notes out loud. Reading your notes out loud can sometimes be more effective than simply reading them silently to yourself, especially if you are an auditory learner.
  • Color code your notes. Colors can help things stand out in your memory. Using colored highlighter pens, color code your notes into important categories or key facts. Different colored sticky notes can also help you separate out key information.

4. Ask for help if needed
If you are having trouble understanding the test material, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Another classmate may be able to help, or better yet, contact your instructor to ask for clarification. Once you have a clear understanding, your studying won’t be as difficult.

5. Use flashcards
When you think of flashcards, you may think of learning your addition facts in grade school. But flash cards are a great way to boil down the essential facts and then quiz yourself by going through the cards. Make sure you mix up the cards too, so that you’re really testing your knowledge. Flash cards are also handy because they are so portable. Keep them in your handbag, and you can study any time you get a spare minute.

6. Give your brain a break
Studying hard is important, but studying too hard can sometimes work against you. Be sure to take brain breaks to rejuvenate your body and your mind. If you take a 5-minute study break every hour, this can make your studying more efficient.

7. Put away the distractions
Try to limit the things that distract you from studying. This includes your cell phone, music, TV, or other device that might interrupt your thinking. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in one full hour of studying if you don’t let yourself get distracted.

8. Get adequate rest before the test
We all function better on a good night’s sleep. In the days leading up to the test, make sure you are getting good sleep, eating well, and making time for a little exercise. All of these things will make you feel healthier and more energized on the day of the test.

We hope these tips help you prepare for your upcoming test. With focus and concentration, you can make the grade!

The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health, located in Manchester, NH, offers training programs for people interested in a career in the field of nursing. Contact us online to find out how you can enroll.

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