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Final Exam Tips

Those dreaded midterms are looming, waiting to bring dread and frustration into the hearts of students everywhere. There's no need to be afraid of not passing. Certain study tips and techniques will help you out with any test, whether you're studying for one of those killer exams, the ACT/SAT, a certification test for work, or need to help your seventh grader prepare for a social studies quiz. Use these tips to make studying for tests more fun, efficient, and effective.

Decide where to study for the test. If you have difficulty concentrating, pick one place as a study place and refrain from watching TV, eating, sleeping, etc in that area to train yourself to concentrate. If you can concentrate well, vary your study places. This will increase your ability to remember the information in the test setting.

Use assigned textbook or power point material to make an "easy" outline. Don't worry about formal outlining. Just write down chapter titles, headings, and subheadings. Do not include details and study it for about 15 min after you have finished. This will help you create organization in your long term memory to get ready for the test. Then, when you study details, your brain will recognize where to "store" them, and when you take the test your brain will be able to find the information more easily. It’s like putting shelves, drawers and hangers in your closet because finding a shirt is faster in an organized closet than a pile of clothes on the floor. This technique is very useful for essay tests as well as multiple choice.

Ex. Animals --Mammals ----Horse ----Elephant ----Dog --Fish Plants --Monocots --Dicots

Make photocopies of any diagrams, boxes, or maps in your notes or book. White-out the information and labels in the diagrams and then make at least 5 copies from each whited-out diagram. Then, use the original to practice filling in the blanks. After you do a couple of practice ones, start trying to do as much as you can without looking. Aim to do 2-3 complete diagrams without looking. A great visual method, this technique can help break up long, boring study sessions and gives you feedback on how you are doing in the days working up to the test.

One of the best studying techniques is to teach the material to someone else who is unfamiliar, or struggling, with the subject. It is amazing how much success this creates when it comes to doing well on tests. If you are a parent helping your child study, have them teach you the material. It sounds silly and he or she might be embarrassed to try, but it works. Make sure your "student" asks questions. Teaching someone else helps draw new connections and think about the material in more "big picture" ways. You can also sit down with the textbook and explain the pictures to your "student."

Rent a movie. If you're studying history, social studies, or science rent a documentary (not a fiction film) about the time period, make popcorn, and invite friends from your class to watch it with you. Parents can make it into a "study sleepover," but make sure the movie is age appropriate. If you're studying for a foreign language, many DVDs can be played in French or Spanish. Watch something you have seen before so that you can go without subtitles. Disney movies are awesome for this as you already know the plot and the grammar easier to follow.

If you are studying for math, go to the chapter reviews and do some problems that seem more difficult than what might be on the test. It will make the test material seem easier, and you will be able to take the test more quickly and with more confidence. Another good study tip is to write out a list of bold words from textbooks and power point lectures. Then, as you read the material, add any other words you think might be important for the test, such as subheadings or key concepts. Use the glossary to make flashcards from your list and the text to fill in any definitions that are not in the glossary. Be efficient when studying with flashcards. When you have gotten one correct twice, take it out of the pile so that you only spend time studying what you don't know.

Study in the shower. Don't waste your shower time! To use this unusual study technique, stick a diagram, outline, or notes in a ziplock bag and tape it to a hanger. Then hang it in the shower so you can study and rinse at the same time.

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