At Sandweiss, we help prepare students for a variety of tests. We cover a wide range of standardized test preparation and offer tutoring on many subjects customized to your specific learning needs. We also help students who are struggling with their studying process by offering tips and tricks that can boost academic scores and help them feel more prepared for test day. Here are our 5 study tips to ace your tests:
This is the most crucial step and one that students very often ignore. By preparing yourself for a long-term studying process, you can better organize the material you need to review and still plan time for extra-curricular activities. In a recent New York Times article, researchers reported that students who regularly reviewed and were quizzed on the course material throughout their Intro to Psych course did significantly better on their final exam than did students who only reviewed the material at the end of the semester, just prior to the final. Why?
…retrieving facts, formulas or concepts is a threefold mental act: finding the sought-after information in the vast catacombs of the brain; bringing it consciously to mind; and finally, storing it. That newly stored memory will be embedded in a host of additional associations and connections and will be much easier to recall later than if you’d merely read it again.
The author, Benedict Carey, closed the article by stating: “Testing in all its permutations, subtle and otherwise, convinces the brain that the knowledge is useful, and important. And by varying one’s testing strategies, the actual final exam — the dreaded assessment — isn’t nearly as scary.” Practice tests, quizzes, and reviews of the final material over a long-term period haven been shown to increase final grades and improve memory retention in students.
4. Study Effectively
How much time do you spend checking email, your phone, or social media? It may not feel like much because they’re very quick interactions, but they build up throughout the day. Having the discipline to shut off your notifications and internet connection for a solid chunk of time could be the difference between studying effectively and not retaining enough of the needed information. Give yourself 25-50 uninterrupted minutes of studying, then take 5 minutes to goof around on your phone or get a cup of coffee. Taking breaks is important, but only if you’re truly using your time effectively.
3. Eat Well
The worst thing you can do for your brain and your body during intense reading and information processing is to consume unhealthy food. Soda, sugar, and fats feel like a good way to get a quick, easy burst of energy, but they lead to crashes (which many people counteract with caffeine). Throughout the day, make sure you’re eating fruits, vegetables, and healthy sources of protein and carbohydrates. You’re going to be burning a lot of energy, so making sure your body recovers after a long study session is also important. Think of long durations of studying like you would approach sustained athletic activity. Take care of yourself and your brain and body will reward you.
2. Try Different Techniques
Your brain is a muscle and muscles need different forms of exercise to grow and develop. Even if you have a tried-and-true studying technique, it may be helpful to try different strategies when facing tough material. Word associations, singsongs, or analogies that relate to your subjects may help you to remember complicated acronyms or formulas.
1. Get Help
Explaining the material to someone else and verbalizing complex information can help you understand whether you truly know a subject or are just getting by. Speak with your teachers, parents, friends and tutors if you’re struggling. Find a classmate who is studying the same material as you and talk about it – or argue about it! Exposing yourself to different opinions on academic subjects can broaden your own perspective and open up different avenues of thought. Just don’t rely on Google to answer all of your questions; the Internet is a hit-or-miss resource for many academic subjects.
Sandweiss Test Prep offers individual tutoring and group tutoring on a variety of subjects. We can help you with your studying process or help prepare you for major exams like the ACT, SAT, or AP and SAT subject tests. Contact us today to discuss your academic goals and find out how a Sandweiss tutor or class can help you achieve them.