I can’t tell you how many times I have this conversation with students:
Student: I didn’t do well on my test!
Me: Oh no, sorry to hear that! Did you study for it?
Student: Yes, I did.
Me: What was your study plan?
Student: Oh, I read my notes like five times!
Every time I hear this, I cringe because this kind of studying does not work! The reason why is rereading notes is considered passive learning. There is no active learning or testing of knowledge happening when you just reread notes.
If you are a student struggling with learning or know a student who is, these five steps will help you learn to study like a boss, pass your test, and STOP wasting your time.
Step #1: Create a Study Timeline
One of the most important things to do is assess the amount of time you have to prepare. The best way to set up your timeline is to do it right when you get the test/quiz date, so you have an ample amount of time to prepare.
If you have a short period, the amount you study each day will increase.
If you have a more extended period, then the amount you study each day can be less.
If you can, it is always better to practice a little bit each day, so make sure to give yourself ample time to prepare for tests and quizzes!
One of my favorite resources to use to create study plans is google calendar. You can color coordinate your study time and write what you want to accomplish in each study period!
Here is an example below:
But no matter what you use to create your study plan, make sure you have your plan written down in detail somewhere!
Step #2: Ask Your Teacher about the Test Material
This step may seem obvious, but I can’t even tell you how many students do not know the exact material on their quiz or test.
Or some students will think they know but miss a few topics.
To make this simple, whether you think you know or do not know what is on the test, just ASK!
If your class uses a textbook, ask your teacher what chapters or sections are on the test. Or, if your teacher uses homework worksheets, ask which homework problems are on the test.
No matter what, make sure you know what material is covered.
Step #3: Ask Your Teacher about the Question Types
This step is usually forgotten about but is very valuable when preparing for tests and quizzes.
There are many different question types like:
- Multiple Choice
- Short Answer
- Long Answer (Essay Question)
- or Fill in the blank.
Knowing the types of questions on your test will structure how you study! For example, if your test will only have essay questions, then the amount of information you need to remember will be a lot more than a test with all multiple choice.
So, make sure to ask your teacher what kind of question types will be on the test so that you can study accordingly and show up prepared on test day.
Step #4: Use Active Studying Methods
Now the methods you use for studying are vital to your success on test day. Rereading notes is not enough! You need to find ways to test your recall, memory, and, most importantly, your understanding of the material. So here are a few studying methods that work well and produce results during test time:
- Create A Mock Test: Based on your notes and the question types for your test, create a “fake” test and an answer sheet.
- Create Flashcards: Whether you use physical flashcards or an online resource like Quizlet, using flashcards is a great way to test your recall and memory.
- Redo Homework Assignments or Quizzes: Redoing problems you got wrong on homework assignments is a great way to fill in gaps in your knowledge and make sure you know the material you may have missed previously.
- Teach A Friend or Family Member: If you can teach someone the material, then you can feel comfortable knowing how to break down the steps for someone else to understand.
Step #5: Know When to Ask for Help
Part of studying and preparing for a test is also knowing when to ask for help. Sometimes you need to have someone explain it to you one-n-one.
So, if you are continuously failing tests, homework assignments, and you feel lost, don’t wait until the end of the quarter or semester to reach out.
Whether you reach out to a teacher or find a tutor, asking for help is NOT a bad thing. It is a sign that you care about doing well, which is an excellent sign of educational maturity!
Make sure to give these five steps a try and stay tuned on the blog for more helpful content.
Until then, Work Hard and Study Smart! 📚📝✒️✏️
Asia Small | CEO of The Purpose of Prep LLC
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