10 Study Tips for College Students Preparing For Tests
Having studied for many tests myself, I have found 10 study tips for college students that will help anyone prepare for a test. Truthfully there are many suggestions that might help you.
However, these 10 learnable test taking skills have helped me prepare for numerous tests effectively.
I am confident that they will help you as well.
The 10 Study Tips for College Students
Where to Study for the Test
1) Have a Specific Time and Place to Study
The first of the 10 study tips for college students, has to do with location. When you study for your test, make sure to have a location and time set aside to study. This should be the place that you usually do your studying.
By having a regular study location, your mind won't take as long to get focused because it knows whenever you go to that location, you'll be studying!
Also, having a time set aside (preferably the same time each day) to study will help you concentrate more easily. You'll want a place that you won't have a lot of distractions.
How to Study for the Test
2) Review your Notes from Class
All of the study tips for college students on this page are important, but this one is especially important.
The reason why you start studying for your test in your class notes is because you should have the key ideas from each lecture, example problems and questions (which could be used on the test), and special notes that indicate material that your professor said would be on the test.
Whenever you are taking notes in class make sure that you are writing down the key ideas and also be sure to put a star or asterisk next to anything the teacher says will be on the test!
Your in-class notes serve as a roadmap, so to speak, to the rest of your studying (this is why notes are so important).
3) Make a List of Key Concepts
As you are reviewing your notes, make a list of key concepts covered in class. This could include main ideas, examples from class, and things that your professor specifically mentioned would be on the test.
4) Look through the Assigned Chapters in the Textbook
Now take your list of concepts and look through the chapters assigned for the test.
As you follow these study tips for college students, make sure that you know the meaning of the key terms and topics from your list, and that you understand the main ideas of each chapter.
Reviewing the chapter summaries can help you get the gist of each chapter quickly. However, don't rely on the chapter summaries to give you all the information you need for the test.
Check your understanding of a topic by explaining it out loud. If you can't adequately explain a topic out loud, then you know exactly which topics you need to study more
If you can explain it thoroughly in your own words, then you should be okay.
Use your best judgement. If you feel like you need a little more study on a subject, then do it!
5) Practice, Practice, Practice!
Of all the study tips for college students on this page, this one is, perhaps, the most important (especially for a math test).
Look at the end of each chapter. There are usually review questions and problems, depending on what you're studying.
Use these to practice and prepare your mind to answer questions on the test. These can also serve as a gauge for what level of understanding you have.
It's also important that you look at these questions because sometimes professors will use these (or variations of them) on the test! If you already know how to answer these questions, then you're ahead of the game!
6) Review Homework Assignments
Using past homework assignments can be a perfect roadmap to studying for a test, and past homework assignments will tell you three things:
A) The concepts that you understand well (the problems you consistently answered right on the homework)
B) The concepts that could use a review (the problems you answered some right and some wrong)
C) The concepts you need to study more to understand (the problems you didn't answer correctly)
If the professor makes homework keys available, then use them to your advantage. These will usually have the correct workings of the problem. This can help you identify areas for improvement quickly.
7) Using the Internet to Review
With resources like youtube and wikipedia, it's easy to find the answers that you need quickly if you don't understand something.
This is especially true for math topics. I found an incredible website called khanacademy.org. If you are struggling in math, or need a better explanation of almost any topic, then you need to check out this website.
Khanacademy.org is great because they offer explanations of difficult to understand topics in video format. This makes it easy to review/ learn the material because you can rewind and fast forward the video as you need.
They also offer a slew of workable problems so that you can gain understanding by doing as well as hearing (this is especially good if you need help in math classes like algebra, calculus, statistics, etc.).
Another website for test prep is www.cramster.com. This site has several solutions to problems from various textbooks.
At Cramster, you can get help with a variety of subjects from Algebra to History. This is a website that will be more helpful with homework assignments, but it can be very helpful when you are doing practice problems while preparing for tests.
Use khanacademy.org, cramster.com, wikipedia, and other websites to help you prepare for tests. But, as you should with all information on the internet, double check everything you read to make sure you are getting accurate information.
Study Tips for College Students and Managing Your Time
When to Study For the Test
8) Start Preparing Well in Advance
As you can see from the other study tips for college students, preparing for a test takes time!
Don't wait until the night before! Cramming isn't as effective and does nothing for long term retention of the material that you are studying.
Luck favors the well prepared!
9) Have Shorter, More Frequent Study Sessions
Breaking up your study sessions in shorter intervals, with more frequent breaks, will immensely help you with long term retention.
Frequent breaks give your mind a break. When you get away from your study area for 5 minutes or so, it gives your mind time to process what you've been studying.
I usually will study in 30 minute intervals with 5 minute breaks between each 30 minute interval. I will usually study this way for about 1 hour and 45 minutes and then I will take a good, long break (15-20 minutes).
During a break, it is good to stretch a little bit, drink a glass of water, and maybe get a little fresh air. Doing this will help you have better focus and clearer thinking during study sessions.
10) Summarize What You Study
Right before you take a break, see if you can summarize the main ideas of the subjects you've been studying.
Shut your textbook and summarize, in your own words, what you just studied. Doing so will help you have better retention of the material and will help your recall during the test.
Hearing yourself summarize what you're studied adds another layer to your understanding.
Make Your Study Time Work for You
These 10 study tips for college students will help anyone (not just college students) if they really apply them. Pick the test taking tips that work best for you and use them.
Make your study time work for your needs. Some subjects are more important than others. Some will take more study time than others.
You must judge this for yourself.
Just remember to give yourself plenty of time to study for the test, and remember that studying for a test is like the law of the harvest. Plant good seeds of understanding by studying well in advance, and you will harvest a good grade on the test!
Which College Study Skill Do You Think is the Best?
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!