Are you preparing for a big test yet feel frustrated because you don’t know how to study for it?
It can be stressful to not know how to study for tests. You want to perform well, but don’t know how to tell the difference between a studying tip that will help you perform better, and one that won’t be helpful.
Thankfully, there are several simple things you can do to help you become a better test taker. Read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Make a Study Schedule and Stick to It
If it’s been difficult for you to study on a daily basis, making a study schedule will probably help you out in big ways. This is because once we create habits by doing things on a regular basis, it becomes much easier for us to do.
Creating a regular study schedule will also make it easy for you to concentrate and give you more mental strength. Even if it feels difficult to do at first, remember that you will start getting better at it every time you try.
How to Create a Study Schedule
The first thing to do in order to create a study schedule that will work for you is to take a look at your current schedule. Take notice of what is going on in your life that is important to you such as your job, classes, and extracurricular activities. Then make a decision for how long you can study without making your schedule too full.
It’s a good idea to set the goal to study for one hour at least two times per week. Though you can also break this up into shorter study sessions such as thirty minutes four times per week, keep in mind that research says that it’s best to set aside at least one hour for every study session that you plan.
Your next step is to decide when you want to study during the week. Look for a time in the day when you know that you are most alert. For many people, this is in the mornings when our minds are still fresh. Others like to study in the evening when they are winding down and feel less stress from their busy lives.
Making a Plan to Stick To Your Study Schedule
Now that you’ve set your schedule, it’s important that you stick to it. With this being said, it’s okay to make small changes to your schedule when you are just starting out.
Once you get used to it, you’ll probably find that it becomes easier to get into a rhythm. Just try your best to continue studying for the same planned days and times as often as you possibly can.
Study Earlier in the Day and Create Shorter Focus Periods
Though it’s possible for some people to cram for a test the night before taking it and still do well, this is an exception rather than a norm. Most people need to look at information various times before it sticks with them. This is why experts suggest that it’s best to study more frequently over a long period of time instead of spending long hours studying just once or twice.
It takes time, through experimentation, to know what will work best for you. In doing this, pay attention to what your limits are.
Maybe you’ll notice that you’re able to focus for an hour, but that after an hour and a half you feel burned out. If this is the case, then choose to limit your study sessions to one hour.
It could also be the case that you can stay focused for only a half-hour at a time. You should therefore keep your sessions short and sweet.
Get Rid of the Distractions
One of the top studying tips is to get rid of everything that distracts you from studying. With so many things in your life that are asking for your attention, it can be easy to give in to the temptation to take unplanned breaks from your work.
Many people report that social media is one of the most difficult temptations to avoid. Those who give in to these temptations will find themselves looking at their smartphones every few minutes instead of staying focused on the matter at hand. Unfortunately, research consistently shows that every time somebody shifts their attention from one task to another, it can take up to twenty minutes to regain focus.
If you don’t want to be distracted, it’s important that you remove everything that might distract you away from your study space. Also remember to turn your phone onto airplane mode, if this is feasible for you.
It can also be a good idea to eat a meal or a healthy snack before you start studying. With an empty stomach, it’s possible that you’ll be tempted to start roaming your refrigerator for food instead of studying.
Lastly, make a commitment to yourself to not be distracted until the time passes that you’ve set aside for studying.
A Top Studying Tip: Give Yourself Rewards
Studying does not need to be difficult, you can make it fun. An easy way to do this is by giving yourself a reward once you accomplish something that you were aiming to do. For example, maybe you get to play a video game for ten minutes every time that you memorize a list of fifty words.
You can also reward yourself for the bigger milestones. Maybe you want to take yourself out to lunch every time that you complete a week of successful study sessions.
It’s not easy to study effectively, but it becomes easier and more fun if you understand the importance of giving yourself rewards for what you accomplish.
Rephrase What You’re Studying in Your Own Words
You might be able to relate to the experience of reading a book from front to cover, only realize afterward that you don’t remember a single word that you read. Don’t worry if this has happened to you because there are easy ways to avoid it.
The first thing to do is to remember to take time for stopping to reflect after you’ve been doing lots of reading. This will help you retain the information more easily.
The best way to reflect on what you’ve read is to rephrase the information you’ve been reading in your own words. It can also be a good idea to write down the key points that you remember.
A good rule of thumb is to take a short break to do this every fifteen minutes or so. You don’t need to spend more than a few minutes reflecting, and you’ll feel refreshed when you return to what you were reading.
When you do return to what you were reading, look back over the material to make sure that you summarized the information correctly and that you’ve remembered the right details. Take notice of whatever you didn’t remember so that you can return to it.
Never Underestimate the Importance of Using Flashcards
There is a good reason why experts say using flashcards is one of the most helpful tools for those who are wondering how to ace an exam. The best way to use flashcards is to make your own. Doing this will give you the chance to get more familiar with the content you’re studying, which means that you’ll be more likely to remember the information.
One great way to make your own notecards is by using a Handwriting Index Card Notes App. This way you’ll have access to your notecards on your computer, and can enjoy the benefit of looking at them every time that you turn them on.
Teach the Material You’re Learning to a Family Member or Friend
This is a great studying tip because it gives you the chance to make sure that you understand what you’re learning. In order to do this, reach out to a friend or a study companion and ask them for permission to teach them the information you’re learning. Depending on how busy they are, you might want to schedule a time to meet with them.
Teaching material to others is helpful because it offers you the chance to re-frame what you’ve been learning in your own words.
Improving Your Study Habits Is Easier Than You Might Think
Studying does not need to be difficult. The best test takers know that the best studying tip is to break their study sessions into small periods over time rather than cramming the night before a test. They also know that it’s to rephrase content their learning in their own words.
If you want to find out more about preparing for important tests, consider visiting the Education section of our website. Here you’ll find many relevant articles that will help you to ace your exams.