10 Study Tips to Score an A on Your Next Exam in 2021
“Perfect is the enemy of good,” as the saying goes. It’s a wonderful reminder for this post because I’m going to give you ten concrete recommendations that you can apply right now to help you better prepare for your exams and do better on them when you take them.
The important thing to understand here is that ten ideas is a lot to take in at once, and attempting to implement all ten of them at once will not yield excellent results. So, when you’ve finished reading this article, pick one or two tips that you think will help you enhance your test-taking skills, and try to put them into practice.
Let’s get this started.
1. The first tip has to do with the few minutes immediately leading up to your exam, and it’s to do a test preparation ritual. Now in my mind this ritual has two specific components.
If you’re prone to test anxiety, the first thing you should do is take out a piece of paper and jot down the precise things that are bothering you. As I mentioned in my piece on exam anxiety, a research conducted at the University of Chicago found that students who did this had higher test scores.
The next step in the routine is to write down any relevant information that has come into your head so far on a piece of scratch paper or, if possible, in the margins of the test. This includes formulas, measurement conversions, and other important facts that you’re afraid you might forget during the test, but that you think you might need.
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2. The second tip is to be on the lookout for later questions in the test that might provide insight or answers to earlier questions.
I’ve actually noticed tests that I’ve taken in previous classes where this has happened. Later on in the test I’ll find a question that references something in an earlier question, and it might actually flat out give the answer.
To put this tip in more general context, simply go back and look over your answers after you’re done with the test. That way anything that references anything else in the test is going to catch your eye.
3. Tip number three is to do a cheat card exercise.
Now in some classes a teacher might let you bring in a cheat sheet, or an index card, filled with notes to assist you on the test. But usually this isn’t gonna happen.
Still, go through the exercise of making this cheat sheet. Going through the exercise of forcing yourself to try to condense all the material you’re studying for the test into one little summary is gonna help you learn the most important parts of the material.
Even if you’re not allowed to bring that resulting cheat card into the test, you’ve now gone through an exercise that has really efficiently encoded the information in your brain. Now your brain basically has that cheat card stored inside of it, and this is just a simple way to exploit the fact that the brain learns best through active recall.
It learns best when you have to work hard to pull information out of your head. At the same time, you’re also forcing yourself to think critically about what information is the most important. What is gonna fit on that little 3 by 5 index card? When you combine those two factors together you’ll find that you’re studying the most important information in the most efficient way.
4. With tip number four we’re staying on that active-learning, active-recall train, but this time the tip is to create quizzes out of your notes and lecture materials, and then force yourself to take them.
Just like the cheat card exercise, you’re forcing yourself to condense the most important information you’re studying into a more compact format, but then you’re also bringing some pressure into the situation by forcing yourself to take that quiz.
5. While we’re on the subject, next recommendation is to try and replicate test situations as closely as possible while learning.
This include visiting to the examination room to study, imitating the test’s time limits when completing your quizzes, and obtaining past practice exams to learn from.
Fundamentally, do everything you can to make your study sessions as realistic as possible.
6. Point number six is to imagine your study area if you get confused on a question when in an exam.
The reason you’d want one is that learning is situationally, according to study. Some students even master the art of making money while studying, thats an issue in today’s modern domain. In one study, for example, half of the participants studied something on land and the other half learned something underwater while wearing diving equipment.
When later evaluated on their recollection, the students who learnt with the diving gear on underneath were able to remember the information properly when they went back underwater in the diving gear.
What I’m attempting to communicate is that you’ll do some undersea research. This isn’t a new finding; philosopher John Locke wrote about “a young gentleman, who, having learnt to dance, “and that to great perfection, “there happened to stand an old trunk “in the chamber where he learned.”
“The idea of this phenomenal piece of household tasks “had so mingled itself to the turns “and the steps of his dances, “that though he could dance excellently well in the chamber, “it was only while the trunk was there; “nor could he perform well in any other place, “unless that or some other trunk “had its due position in the room.”
” Now, the English in that passage is a little strange, but I’m sure you understand the idea. When you’re confused, it all comes back to imagining your study place, because prior research demonstrated that those who do so can often overcome the impacts of contextual studying.
Fundamentally, if you study at a library and then envision the library, the memory of that study site may aid you in making connections to the stuff you’re trying to remember.
7. Tip number seven is to try doing at least one of your study sessions while out on a walk.
If you’re having trouble grasping a certain concept, then try going on a walk and reviewing it while you’re outside.
Now many people actually find that when they’re doing physical activity and they’re outside, their brain makes better connections, but you’re getting an additional benefit as well.
While you’re outside, you’re looking at the problem from a different perspective. Barbara Oakley’s book, A Mind for Numbers, points out that doing this helps you review a concept and learn it while independent of any environmental cues of one specific place.
8. My eighth piece of advice is to apply Hofstadter’s Law to learning.
Hofstadter’s Law now states, “It really takes way more time,” although when Hofstadter’s Law is considered.
” It almost always takes longer than you imagine to encode the information needed to obtain a specific exam grade. Yes, I know you’re confident you’re going to study really, very hardcore later tonight, but your pals will come in and want to do something, or a five-minute study break will morph into a Netflix binge.
This is simply fact, and sensible people structure their lives around it. So, if you’re intending to start studying for your test on a certain date, try pushing it back a week. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to evaluate and update, even if unexpected events arise.
9. The ninth tip is to be diligent in combining all of your tiny chores into as few little, focused chunks of time as possible.
This will allow more time in your calendar for large blocks of undisturbed reading time.
Now when you’re doing this, as a general rule of thumb, try to put those uninterrupted study sessions as early as you can in the day. This is because your willpower is a finite resource, and if you use it all on small tasks earlier in the day, you’re not gonna have as much left over for that big study session you need to get to.
This is where the saying “Eat your frogs first” came from. Do the hardest things when your willpower reserves are as high as they can go. And we are finally to the last tip.
10. And it is simply to appreciate test-taking as part of the learning process.
Viewing tests only as assessments, as basically judgment makes them scary and causes undue stress. Instead, try to see your tests as beautiful, concentrated bursts of recall and application. And you can also reduce further stress with cats.
So that is it for this article. If you found it helpful you can always leave a Like down below to help support this blog, and if you want to find more related articles with more additional tips on how to do better on your tests, then this blog is absolutely full of them.
Finals tips, how to deal with test anxiety, how to not make stupid mistakes on your exams, and also whether or not you should change answers on your exams if you feel like changing them.
Whichever one fits your fancy click it right now, and hopefully it’ll teach you something new. Lastly, if you have questions that are still unanswered, or maybe you saw something in this article that piqued your curiosity, and now you want a more in-depth article in the future, then leave those questions down in the comments.
Those comments are super helpful for me because they let me know what to write next, and somebody might actually answer your question in the meantime. So that’s it, thank you so much for taking your time to read.
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