It’s that time of the year again: Finals. That wonderful moment of “Did I remember to study for this?” lies just around the corner. As we reach the end of the first semester of High School, here are some tips to help you ace those dreaded exams.
Long Term Studying Tips
- Scheduling. Make a to-do list and a schedule for the days between now and your final exams. Try to break up your studying into smaller units, which will help prevent that feeling of being overwhelmed.
- Figure out how YOU learn best. Are you a visual learner that learns best by watching videos or reading? Are you an audio-based learner that learns best by listening and speaking? Or are you a tactile, hands-on kinda person? Figure it out, and then study using techniques that fit your learning style best.
- Get started now! The most common lie we tell ourselves is “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
- Learn the format. If you know what you’re going up against, it’ll help you study for the test, instead of covering information that you’ll never see.
- Talk to your teachers. They’re available every day during flex time, and sometimes during study halls.
- Set goals. By giving yourself specific and attainable goals such as “I’ll study for 15 minutes every day,” you make it easier to keep yourself on track with your studying.
- Mnemonic Devices. Remember the ABC song, and how it helped you learn the alphabet? What if I told you similar devices exist for everything else? Use acronyms, rhymes, songs, poems, or funny phrases to help yourself memorize facts and information. (ex: FOIL [first, outside, inside, last])
- Quiz yourself. Make flashcards, or cover up your notes and try to explain them.
- Practice. Make a practice test together with some friends, and then see if you can complete it. Not only will this make you more confident in your learning, but it will also help you figure out which areas you should focus on the most.
- Reduce Distractions. Turn off your phone, TV, and notifications. It’ll help you focus more, trust me. Find a quiet place to study, so you won’t be interrupted.
- List important terms, concepts, and ideas. You can’t possibly study everything in a single day, so figure out what matters most, and then work on it. Focus only on the most important skills and information. If your teacher says it’ll be on the exam, study it. If it comes up a lot in lectures or books, study it. If it’s built on in later lessons, study it. And if it’s bolded, highlighted, or underlined in your textbook, study it.
- Look for summaries. If your course has a textbook, it should have summaries of the information at the beginning or end of the chapter. Study those, since they compress the most important information into a few paragraphs. Anything labeled introduction, conclusion, or summary is something you should look into.
- Make more notes as you go. We learn better if we write information down. Jot down anything you want to make sure you know. WRITE, don’t type. It’s not nearly as effective for your memory.
- Charts, Graphs, and Mind Maps- Oh My! By drawing and working out the connections between everything you’ve learned, you can fix it in your mind more clearly.
- Teach a Friend. Pretend you’re teaching the information to someone else. Once you feel reasonably comfortable with the material, find a friend and present what you know. Have them ask questions so you’re forced to explain the material.
- Study Out of Order. The human mind is an amazing thing, but it doesn’t always work according to sound logic. Thoroughly review your notes in order. Then, shuffle them around and go through them again, in no particular order. You’ll be training your brain to remember the information by itself, instead of as part of a series.
- Review the Important Terms List. Remember it? Go through it again, and make sure you understand everything. For each term, try to say its definition out loud, without looking at your notes. If you can’t, put a star next to it. By the end of this exercise, you should have a small list of terms that you don’t understand. Go through those again, until you know them well.
- Take a Practice Test. You might not be able to emulate the high-pressure situation that Finals presents, but they’re a great way to build up stamina and confidence. They also help you put your knowledge to the test before the test itself.
By Elliot Weix
Categories: Student Life