Today, I'm going to talk to you about how to prepare for tests. And, specifically, I'm going to give you four simple steps you can use anytime you need to prepare for a new test to help you do your very best on that test.
The first thing that you need to do is see where you're at.
That's why I have a mind-mapping software open because you need to see where you are at concerning a particular topic. If you are being tested on a particular chapter or a particular topic, or something specific, you need to write down everything you know about it.
So, you want to write down facts that you know. The things that you know. The ideas that you have about it. You want to write down everything that you know about it. Everything that comes to mind.
And, you want to subdivide these ideas into different sub-ideas, subtopics. Write down everything and as much as you know about the topic that you're being tested on.
Now, if you don't know much about it yet, or if you can't think of things off the top of your head (this is all completely off the top of your head for right now) don't worry about it! That is the whole purpose of preparing for tests- is to study what you need to know.
After you have written down everything that you know about a particular chapter or about a particular topic, then you need to look through your study materials and determine what you need to know more about.
So, look through your textbook, look through your class notes, handed out study guides, etc., and look at the different topics that are being discussed in there and see how much you know about those. Is there something you need to know more about? Then you need to put it down.
So, topic 1, topic 2, topic 3. These are all topics and things that you need to know more about from your chapter or from wherever you're reading or from wherever you're studying. You need to put these down because these are things you're going to need to know more about.
Give yourself some room because as you study, that's the second step, now you need to see what you need so you're looking at what you need to know more about.
And number 3 is you need to go and study those topics.
So now as you have these different topics that you need to study, now you're going to go and study those and as you study them you're going to add additional information about these topics to your mind map as you get it.
And you're going to have to study these accordingly. You might need to further your understanding about each of these considerably. Or, you might not need to do it very much at all!
You're the one who's going to have to be the judge of that.
As you study this way, you're going to get more information about these things that you already wrote down over here. And as you get more information about those (that you need to know or that you feel like you need to know) put that down on your mind map as well.
The idea is to continue doing this until you get the level of understanding that you need.
So, lets say that you found three topics that you need to study more in order to prepare for tests. Well, let's say you study all three of those topics, yet you find other topics that you still need to prepare for.
Well, now you go back to step number 2. You have found another topic that you need to know more about. So, you add it to your mind map and then you just go through steps 2 & 3 again.
You add it to your mind map and then your going to add to that topic however much you need to.
Again, the idea is to not skip anything. You're wanting to make sure that you're well prepared for tests. And that is where step number 4 comes in.
After you've studied the topics that you feel like you need to for the test, and you have them all down on your mind map, then you're going to go to step 4 which is to test yourself.
And the ways you can do this is by:
- Use the study questions at the end of each chapter
- Form a study group and test each other
- Another great resource for self-test questions is on the textbook's website.
If your textbook has a website, go on there and see if it has any self-test questions. Often times you can get immediate feedback to your answers that you provide.
If you still feel like you need more preparation through self-testing, I would say go through the chapters that you're being tested on and turn the sub-headings into questions and see if you can answer them.
So, again, just to review, the 4 steps that you need to use to prepare for tests are:
1- See where you are at (which is where these first things come in as you put down everything you can think of or that you know about the particular topic that you're being tested on) put those down first on your mind map.
2- See where you need to get more information (that is where these topics come in). Just put down the topics that you need to know more about. These are things that you'll find in your textbook or in your class notes, etc. Put those down on your mind map.
3- Go and study those topics. As you study, add that information to these topics on your mind map.
4- Test yourself by using self-test questions
I hope that this helps you do well on your next test and to be able to feel more prepared and be more prepared for tests in the future.
Do you have a favorite college study skill? It doesn't have to be one mentioned on this page. If it works for you, then mention it!