Students who are new to the college environment need to learn how to effectively study for exams. After all, college isn't like high school, where the study guides and practice tests are given to you by your teachers, along with reminders leading up to the test day. In college, you're expected to be independent enough to not need that extra help and guided encouragement.
While it may seem like a lot to juggle, with the right skills, it’s completely doable. Here's how you can ensure that you get all of that studying in so that you're prepared for every exam.
Take Good Notes
While you're in class, it's your job to take good notes during lectures. Spend some time practicing the various note-taking methods that are out there in order to learn which ones work best for them. Once you have that down, start writing down all of the important material from your lectures. You can even do this while reading your assigned textbook readings in order to help you better retain the material.
Plan Your Studying in Advance
Your syllabus will state when the tests are going to take place, so you'll have plenty of advance warnings. Go over the syllabus when the class first starts, and put together a studying plan on paper, in your planner or on your online calendar. How you choose to set up the plan is up to you. For example, if you know that you'll retain the material quickly, you can start studying for the test two to three weeks beforehand. However, if it will take you longer, start your study plan earlier in the semester.
Put Together Your Own Study Guide
Even though you may not know what will be on the test, you still should be able to get a good idea from the materials that your professor assigns you to read, as well as what's covered in the lectures. You can take the main points from these things and start putting together a study guide of topics. If you arrange it to look like an outline and fill it in as you start to study, you'll be well prepared for the test.
Form a Study Group
Studying in groups (as long as you're actually studying or discussing the material that might be on the test, not goofing around) is always a good idea. It's a fun way to bond with your classmates and go over things that you might've missed in the lectures or reading. They might have a different view of things that you do, and they can share their perspectives. Joining a study group that gets together several times during the week leading up to the test, as well as right before it's scheduled to take place, is helpful when it comes to remembering the facts presented in the lectures and textbooks.
If you need a hand studying for tests or planning ahead for exams, the Morton Family Learning Center has a number of programs, resources and people willing to help. Whether you need tutoring in a subject or assistive technology, we’re here to help you succeed.