As finals approach for high school students, stress levels and intense studying rise. Study tips, like the following, can help lessen the load, bring students a small peace of mind, as well as provide the potential chance to receive a better grade. Here are 6 tips that can help you do better on your final exams and also make you a better test taker overall.
1. Utilize the study guide.
Whenever the teacher gives out a study guide it would be in your best interest to do it. Most study guides will inform you about most of the topics that will be present on the exam. It would also be a good idea to get them completed and checked because it will help you identify your areas of strength and potential areas of weakness. Once you have that information, you will be able to work on those areas before the test date. Often teachers hand out study guides that cover the vast material and skills that were taught throughout the year.
2. Take advantage of notecards.
If you are able to fill out a notecard or “cheat sheet” to use on the final, take advantage of it because it can help jog your memory during the test. Write down the concepts you don’t know. If you have any confidence in the subject it’s not worth writing it down. Do your best to fill out both sides. Then start including the material you somewhat understand and work your way up. Keep it in a safe place as it can save you your grade. Prior knowledge is essential when finals come around. However, a notecard can be a real lifesaver if you have test-taking anxiety or need to remember key terms. Often the pressure of exams can leave one’s mind blank. In these situations, it’s always good to have a notecard on hand. Writing key terms, vocabulary, formulas, and the occasional example on a notecard for the final can help one focus better, relax, and conquer that tricky question on the test.
3. Review, Review, Review.
Even if you are fairly confident on most of the material it is always best to study from the beginning and go through all of it again. You never know what could happen and you might forget some key ideas. So refresh your memory on anything you might’ve forgotten during the year.
In the case that you feel you are already comfortable with a subject, you can never be too sure. Even just looking back on content objectives and key terms can help one strengthen their recollection of the material.
4. Take timeouts!
When it comes to preparing for big tests, taking a break can really help. Taking a one-hour break can help to calm your mind. Some students like to study for an hour and then match that time with an hour-long break. Just like during a long sports game, intermissions during study are crucial. Just like your body, your brain needs breaks too. Absorbing copious amounts of information at one time is too much for your brain to actually learn. Some break tips that health officials at Cornell University recommend are meditation, taking a walk, or even conducting an impromptu dance party! For even more break ideas visit:
5. Find an adequate spot.
Find a spot where it’s quiet and out of the way where you can relax. The key is to minimize the distractions around you for optimal focus. Some good spots would be your room or a library. Where it can be quiet and out of the way. Some good spots at school would be the library or a teacher’s classroom before or after school so you can ask questions if you feel stuck.
The key is to minimize the distractions around you for optimal focus. A few spots to avoid would be your bed (which can lead to a lack of motivation), a family room (which can be loud and full of distractions), or during one of your other classes (your attention will not fully be on what you are studying.) However, a great place to study would be the Henry Ford Centennial Library. There you can find reference material, free Wi-Fi, and even individual quiet study rooms for a student like yourself!
6. Bring a friend along!
Studying with a friend can be important because not everyone has the same knowledge and skill level. Constantly quiz each other and together you will both benefit from the experience. If you are one that has a hard time focusing and staying on task by yourself it would be a great idea to set up a time with a friend to study! “Whether you realize it or not, studying with friends can help boost your overall level of enjoyment and confidence. A sense of fulfillment when working together is a common outcome and this can positively impact your work performance,” according to a 2020 article published by the Australian National Institute of Management and Commerce. With that said, grab a friend for your next study session.
7. Have confidence.
Walking into a test with the optimistic mentality that you will succeed has also proven to help on tests. Yes, finals can be daunting and seem deadly at the moment, but according to a study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America “This form of anxiety has different triggers for everyone, including fear of failure and associating self-worth with test performance. It’s also more common than one might believe—a 2010 study found that it can affect anywhere from 10 to 40 percent of all students.”