Thursday, October 6, 2011

How to Study! Tips on Studying for Tests in High School and College

One of the most important things to do is start right away. As soon as you get an assignment or find out what day a test is scheduled, start studying. Get organized with the tools needed such as paper, pencils, pens, highlighter markers, a quiet place to study. Now this should only take a few minutes. Don’t let planning to study interfere with actually studying. However, if you take a few minutes to plan you will study smarter.

For this unique study tip, you'll need three colored pens: a red, blue, and black.

When I was in college, I developed a cool technique that really helped me excel at studying. I put myself in the position of the teacher. As I read through the chapters and my notes from class I thought about what questions I would ask if I were the teacher. For example: If the notes or book said “Chlorophyll is the part of a plant cell that traps light and is used to produce food for the plant” I would make my own notes in reverse. I would take a black pen and write “What is Chlorophyll?” Then I would take a blue pen and write “The part of a plant cell that traps light and is used to produce food”. In a way I was writing my own test and then I would cover up the answers and try to take the test. I would take a red pen and correct my own test. If I could memorize all the facts and pass my own test, I usually did really well on the teacher’s test.

To take it a step further, I used to type up my questions without the answers and press print, then take my own test over and over. I usually got a really crappy grade the first time I took my own 'test' but after about the second or third time I would get an okay grade. I never got an A on my own test, because they were too hard. By the time I took the teacher's test, it felt easy in comparison.

Something about the process of writing it all out, typing it up, filling in the answers, checking it with a red pen (including crossing out what I got wrong and writing in the correct answer) and then giving myself a grade at the top of the paper was really helpful. If you are an auditory learner, it might also help you to read everything out loud as you're doing this.

Something I don't recommend is using a highlighter as you go through your books and notes. They are a crutch that don't usually work for anything useful. I also don't recommend reading the whole chapter and then going through to take notes; you'll never go back.

Do this technique as you're reading through the text for the first time. Try to summarize at least every paragraph with a question, but many paragraphs will have several questions.

I know this sounds like it takes a long time, but it actually doesn't when you consider that you've streamlined your studying to make everything you read very purposeful. You will never have to 're-read' your notes, unless you really want to. Do this with your notes from class as soon after class as you can (or even while you're in class, if the professor is droning on and on about something useless). The sooner you do this, the easier it will be. So do this with your notes from class and your textbook readings. It helped me so much! Good luck!

Are you familiar with the three learning styles? Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic? Good thing to learn about because if you know your learning style you can adjust your studying to reflect your learning style!

Here are some books and supplies that might help you!

What's My Style?: Test and Study Secrets for Procrastinating Teens

Seven Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences

So Each May Learn: Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences

Bic Ultra Round Stic Grip Pens (my personal favorite!)

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