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Be the Smartest Person in Class: Study Tips
Stress Of Tests And Exams
Tests and exams can be a source of immense stress for any student - especially at the high school and post secondary levels. Testing and exams for most courses comprise a very large part of the final grade. A poor result on one test can have a huge negative impact on the final grade attained. It is extremely important, then, that studying and review become a daily part of a student's life. Cramming for tests and exams the night before is rarely an effective method for success. Even if successful on one or two tests using this method, the information will not be retained over the long term and when studying again for exams, the older information will need to be relearned as virtually none of that information is retained during the cramming process. How then does the successful student study? There are a number of techniques that work depending on learning style but generally, all students can benefit by utilizing the advice laid out below.
Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.
Making Smart Academic Choices And Organizing Yourself For Effective Studying
1. Choose your courses carefully.
- Keep in mind that during your first year you may not have much choice if you have a specific course of study but choose your field of study carefully.
- Focusing on science and math courses if you had a hard time passing these in elementary and high school may not provide you with success.
- Choose courses based on your high level of interest as well as with a career goal in mind.
- If you have a diagnosed learning disability or feel you may not be able to successfully handle a full course load especially in your first year, speak to guidance or campus student services to explore the possibility of a reduced course load.
2. Know and utilize the resources offered at your school.
- student services
3. Meet and get to know your teachers, professors and educational assistants.
- Being able to converse easily with your teacher/professor makes it easier to advocate for yourself regarding assistance, clarification and possibly extensions on assignments and course material.
Be Successful Your First Year Of University
4. Manage your time well.
- Use a wall calendar at home to have a visual aid showing your present and future work load.
- Use a paper agenda or your smart phone or tablet organizer to keep track of assignments and test dates as they are provided by your instructor.
- Plan work and study periods for each course using the same tools in order to keep on top of the workload for each course.
5. Know and actively use reading skills.
- You must be able to pick out important information from assigned text selections..
- Use graphic organizers, mind maps and point form notes to consolidate information taken from assigned readings.
6. Develop strong listening and note-taking skills.
- Actively listening in the classroom and taking note of important concepts is the first step in studying. Utilizing your class time effectively is key to academic success.
- Some instructors, especially at university level courses, talk only and provide little in the way of notes.
- It is important to be able to take notes of important facts quickly while the instructor is speaking.
- Recording the professor while listening is one method. Notes can be transcribed later.
- Developing your own shorthand is another method. Your learning style will dictate which method would work better for you!
7. Develop and improve writing and speaking skills.
- Most courses will require the completion of at least one essay for which a specific format must be followed. Logical and concise arguments will be necessary.
- Tests and exams are written and will usually involved many short answer and essay style questions. Organization and concise, logical writing is key to successful completion.
- Strong writing skills are a plus in creating effective study notes.
- Many courses involve seminar classes which revolve around small group discussion. It is key that you be able to express yourself in a logical, coherent manner.
8. Create a study nook at home.
- Make sure it is a quiet place away from television and mainstream family traffic if you are living with your family.
- Make sure it is comfortable for you and has a place for your course materials, paper, pencils, calculators, dictionary and textbooks.
Helpful Hints For Studying Effectively
Useful Study Techniques That Will Boost Your Success In School
1. Study each night.
- Review the day's material and complete any assigned homework.
2. Make your own notes.
- When completing assigned reading from texts or other sources make your own point form notes or use graphic organizers or mind maps to consolidate the information.
- Put information into your own words when making your notes. It will be much easier to remember.
- Read the hub, How to Organize Notes For Studying, for further tips on how to improve your success on tests and exams.
3. When studying for a test or exam do not spend much time on the material you already know well.
- Review this material quickly to make sure you still remember everything.
4. Study when it is quiet and your brain is well rested and ready to absorb information.
- Getting a good night sleep is key. A tired brain will have trouble concentrating long enough to push information into long term memory.
5. Study in one hour chunks with 10 to 15 breaks to rest the brain.
6. Divide your workload into realistic chunks.
- Create a study plan that breaks up your required study material into a daily and weekly schedule. Do not leave studying for tests and exams to the night before or even to a few days before the scheduled test day.
- Follow your study plan and build in extra time for when emergencies crop up.
- Use active studying techniques when possible. The following hub, How to Better Remember Information You've Studied, provides specific studying techniques designed to push information from short term memory into long term memory.
Practicing Active Studying Techniques Can Make You A Successful Student
Improve Your Chances Of Academic Success
There are no guarantees in life. However, by working very hard and by working smart, you can improve your academic performance. By reviewing the resources above and applying all or at least many of the study tips and study techniques provided, in your daily routine, you will have the potential to be the smartest person in class.