The worst feeling in the world: studying hours and hours for a test, only to receive a bad grade. Trust me, I know.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, make sure your study strategies aren’t the problem.
Don’t just read your notes
Interact with your notes in some way. Type them out in order to create a study guide, organizing the information under different themes and topics. Highlight important concepts, or terms that you can turn into flashcards. You can even color code different ideas with different highlighters. This strategy is not only useful, but also fun, especially if you are artistic.
Don’t only study last minute
You may think that the later you study, the fresher the information will be in your mind. However, this is not at all the case! Don’t procrastinate.
There’s a variety of reasons why studying over the course of a couple days will be helpful. You’ll be grateful because you’ll have less work to do each night, so you won’t be up as late, so you’ll get a good night’s sleep in the days before the test. Also, long-term studying sticks in your brain better than cramming. UC San Diego scientist Sean Kang explains that students tend to remember material better when the time in between repetitions of studying the material is longer. So you can’t just leave all the studying for the night before the test.
Study according to the test format
Ask your teacher about the format of the test and then study in a way that matches the sorts of questions that you’ll be asked. Don’t use flashcards if the test doesn’t include multiple choice or short answer questions. If you’ll be writing an essay, practice creating essay outlines.
When you actually take the test, you’ll feel more comfortable and calm because you’ll be used to the structure.
Allot your time accordingly
Spend different amounts of time on different topics. If you know a topic very well, do some quick review for a little bit, but then stop. Save your brainpower for the difficult stuff. The nights you’ll tend to stay up late will be the nights that you spent waaayyy too long on the simple stuff. Efficiency is key!
Figure out where your problem areas are and create a list of them. Make sure to leave ample time to go over all of it. When I say ample, I mean more than you think you’ll need.