Final exams are right around the corner, and as much as you may be looking forward to a winter break, you need to get through tests first. Before you can open presents, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, and sleep in late, you need to prepare for your end-of-semester tests. As you begin studying, take in these unique study tips to help you review for your exams.
1. Interactive group study sessions
There’s a reason your grade school teachers used to have the class play games to remember content. For one, they’re fun and engaging. Secondly, reviewing with different techniques — something that gets you talking or away from reciting notes — can help you retain information in a way that traditional study techniques may not always do.
Sure, you could get fancy and make an online Jeopardy game, but it doesn’t necessarily have to take that much effort. Even studying flashcards with friends can be a great learning technique. Having someone with you to keep you accountable and make sure you are explaining concepts fully can make studying more effective.
2. Create your own test
How do you prepare for a test if you have no idea what the questions are going to be? It’s simple: you predict the questions. Look through your material and think about what questions your teacher may ask. As you review your notes, textbooks, and previous quizzes, think of ways the information can be consolidated and how your teacher or professor could frame the test problems.
Are there certain trends and themes that you may be asked to summarize on a test? Are there bullet points or timelines that would make an easy quiz question? You can always look at previous quizzes to see what types of information your teacher often looks for. Use these to create a practice quiz for yourself, then try to answer the questions without your notes.
3. Practice stress management strategies
Preparing for an exam doesn’t only mean learning the content; stress management is important, too, as it can not only help you prepare for an exam, it can also help you during exam time. Part of keeping your cool during an exam is realizing that stress can be managed and channeled for good.
One way to channel your stress is to ensure you take breaks while studying. Breaks are a great way to let your mind rest and allow it to retain information. This doesn’t mean totally zoning out, however. Try taking productive breaks, like throwing in a load of laundry, or completing another small chore that will allow you to check something off your to-do list. This can help manage your stress and allow you to be totally focused on studying when it’s time to do so.
4. Turn every room into a study room
One of the biggest myths about studying for tests is that it has to happen at a certain time, in a certain place. On the contrary, studying can happen anywhere, at any time. Why can you only learn in the library? Instead of cramming before a test, use this strategy to study throughout the semester to learn your content.
Use notecards or post-it notes to turn any room into a study room. Is there a fact that you are having difficulty remembering? Try posting it on your bathroom mirror and looking at it as you get ready in the morning. Place post-it notes around your bedroom or in other places that you typically pass through. As you walk by them, you’ll begin to recall them. Then, when you’re taking your test, you’ll be more likely to remember the information.
Brittany Phillips is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.