One element that both online education and traditional education share is test-taking. You still have to pass tests, whether it be in a classroom or on your computer, in order for you to pass the course and be that much closer to earning your degree.
Here are 5 tips on how to study for tests so you can improve your performance on them:
1. Take frequent short breaks.
It’s been shown that your memory will remember more at the beginning and at the end of your study sessions than it will in the middle of those sections. Therefore, it makes sense to keep your study periods to a short time frame, say 20-30 minutes at most, take a 5-minute break, then come back and study another 20-30 minutes. This way, your mind will be sharper and you’ll be more focused on what you’re studying.
2. Space out your studying so that your long-term memory retains it.
Another reason to not wait until the night before the exam to study is because the information will stay in your long-term memory. If you wait until the night before the exam, the information will only be in your short-term memory, where it is more likely to be forgotten.
3. Don’t try to memorize everything; make sure you understand the material well.
Understanding the material is key to doing well on college exams because often these exams will ask you to demonstrate your understanding of that material by applying it to a situation. Your study material may have presented a sample case for you to help you prepare, but if you didn’t understand the process of how you came to the right answer, chances are, you won’t be able to demonstrate the ability to answer the question on the exam, which will likely lead you to doing poorly on the exam.
4. Listen to relaxing music to ease the boredom of studying.
Listening to relaxing music like classical or jazz can help to relieve some of the boredom of studying. Sitting for extended periods of time, even with short breaks, can cause the mind to dull a bit over time; playing relaxing music can help to revitalize yourself to refocus on the material and study it better.
5. Don’t study later than the time you usually go to sleep.
It is suggested that you don’t stay up past the time you usually go to sleep, as you may be tempted to fall asleep, being that your body is used to going to sleep at a certain time. That is why studying in the afternoon or early evening would be better. If you are a morning person, wake up at your usual time or even a bit earlier and study then, rather than staying up past your bedtime to study.
This is another reason why you shouldn’t wait until the night before the exam to do all of your studying, as you will likely need a few hours to study in order to cover all the material if you haven’t been studying it throughout the course.