By Elizabeth Dubos
Students, do you often feel stressed, anxious, or nervous right before taking a test, quiz, or exam? You’ve put in extensive hours of studying in order to ace this assignment; unfortunately, when you get your results back it’s a low grade and you become extremely sad or angry. You’re questioning why you put so much energy into studying if it was going to result in a bad grade. Here’s the answer: you’re a smart, dedicated, and hardworking student, but you just need to refine your studying habits in order to succeed. Here are some study tips and tricks to help you succeed on a test, quiz, or exam.
1. Prepare Your Study Space
Before you start studying try to find a study space that’s comfortable and has limited distractions. I recommend studying in your bedroom because it’s a calm and safe place for you to think and concentrate on what could possibly be on the test. Plus, on your bedroom door, you can leave an “I’m studying, please do not disturb” sign. On this sign, you can input study times so surrounding members of your household know when you will be done studying. If you cannot study at home, then consider going to the library because it’ll be a quiet environment for you to study. Also, if you’re a bookworm, you can enjoy checking out fun books to read after a study session.
2. Find and Use Practice Tests Online
The internet is filled with practice tests and worksheets on numerous subjects to help students succeed. First, they can help you judge if you need additional time studying the subject content. Plus, if you’re stuck on a question then you can ask your teacher more about it. Secondly, if you feel nervous, freeze, and you forget the information during the test, the practice tests will help build your confidence with experience, so the testing period doesn’t seem extremely stressful. Thirdly, you can add these practice tests to your collection of notes, so it’ll be a refresher instead of worrying if you forgot past information.
Here are some websites with free practice tests and worksheets.
1. Math: https://www.kutasoftware.com/freeipa.html
2. English Language & Literary: https://parcc.pearson.com/practice-tests/english/
3. Science: https://www.varsitytutors.com/science-practice-tests
4. History: https://www.ducksters.com/questions/history.php
3. Schedule Mini-Breaks
Don’t study for an endless number of hours because it will add to your stress. Schedule three to four breaks during your study session. They can be as little as two minutes or as long as thirty minutes. During your breaks try meditation, yoga, going outside, or watching a funny YouTube video. This will help your brain decompress from all the information you’re trying to learn and remember. Plus, studying won’t feel like a daunting task when you can look forward to doing something fun on your mini-break. Set an alarm for your mini-break to ensure you take it on time and do not overwork yourself.
4. Speak the Content Out Loud
Reading and repeating the content may work for some people, but not everyone. Think of this study tip as a presentation. You can present to family, friends, or inanimate objects. How will you grab and hold their attention? Will you use study visual aids, i.e., Venn diagrams, bar graphs, pie charts, timelines, etc.? If you’re a visual learner then creating a visual aid will help you remember the content too. You can use glitter, neon colors, or different patterns to help you. After presenting to family and friends encourage them to ask you questions so you feel comfortable discussing the content.
5. Study Snacks
Try to eat your snack during your scheduled mini-break, so food or drink does not get in your textbook or notes. Here is a list of recommended study snacks that are easy to obtain and are affordable. These snacks should be eaten in moderation and not be substituted for meals.
1. String Cheese: It’s low on calories and high in protein. Grocery stores offer different flavors, so you can try multiple ones until you find your favorite.
2. Dark Chocolate: It helps with natural stimulation and produces endorphins to help you conquer studying.
3. Microwave Popcorn: You can enjoy an entire bowl for yourself because it’s low in calories and high in fiber.
4. Fruit Salad: This is a healthy option to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can either buy a mixture of fruits in the produce section of your grocery store or you can choose your favorite fruits to combine at home.
Note: Remember to drink fluids while studying! First, I recommend green tea because it contains the amino acid L–theanine that will give you energy. Secondly, I recommend water. It’s important to improve circulation in your brain and prevent overheating when you’re studying very hard. You can flavor it with lemons, limes, mint, cucumbers, or strawberries to make it more appetizing.
Large textbooks, notebooks, and binders can be intimidating study materials. Try downloading educational study apps onto your phone or tablet to help you. Here are some affordable and free apps to download on Apple and Android devices.
1. Quizlet: Free or for $1.99 a month receive additional upgrades. Flashcards are a resourceful study aid to practice and master what you’re learning. On the free version, users can create their own flashcards or choose from other students’. Plus you can share your flashcards with fellow classmates. The flashcards feature audio and images to enhance the learning experience. The upgraded version offers users the choice to upload their own images, get faster help from the Quizlet team, and study without ads.
2. Exam Countdown: Free – You’ve got multiple exams and you’re starting to freak out. Beat procrastination with this app. It will help you keep track of multiple exam dates so you can schedule enough study time. Plus, you can color code exam importance.
3. Forest: Free – This app will help you concentrate while studying. In the app you plant a seed, then as you spend more time studying, the seed will grow into a tree. However, if you leave the app and use your phone then the tree with wither. It encourages users to stay focused and gives them a sense of achievement when they’ve completed studying.
4. Khan Academy: Free – This app included thousands of educational and instructional videos and articles that you can use to study with. Practice tests are provided too. You can bookmark information, so when it’s time for your scheduled mini-breaks you will not lose information.
7. Incorporate Color into Notes
For paper notes use highlighters, colored pencils, Crayola markers thin/thick, and Paper Mate Ink Gel pens. The two last items will prevent note smudging. On digital devices, you can use a different font and highlight colors in your study documents. Colors are important for various purposes. First, you can color coordinate importance, so if you need to find important information you’ll find it easily. Secondly, handwriting in different colors can be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Embrace your creative side when studying because it’ll make the content memorable. Next, you can organize subjects with different colors. For example, you only write history notes in green, math in purple, and blue for history.
Lastly, if you do not do well on one test, quiz, or exam it is not the end of the world. Continue to work hard and your efforts will show. Good luck!
Edited by London Koffler