It's Saturday afternoon and you have a test at the end of the week on Friday. Should you:
1. Sift through your paperwork?
2.Thumb through your textbook?
3. Wait to begin studying until Wednesday or Thursday?
4. Skip studying because you already know it all?
5. Skip studying because you know you'll fail anyway?
The correct answer is....UGH!!! All of these really suck and should not be part of any student regimen. Each test you take can make a serious difference in your grade. Remember, your grade is your paycheck. Do you want to be paid a few dollars or do you want to be paid a couple hundred or thousand? The difference between an A and D (think: $1,000 or some chump change) is in your preparation. FLASH CARDS ARE YOUR FRIEND! They make all the data fit into small easy to review chunks and your brain loves chunks rather than entire mountains
all at once. Make your brain happy and it will take care of you when you need it.
How do you make flash cards when the teacher hasn't provided a study guide? First, you have to ask your teacher for a study guide. If he or she says, "Just study the chapter review questions," or "Just look over your class notes," or "Here, I was going to hand out this study guide out today, or "Just read chapters 1-100 and you should be fine," you can make flash cards from just about anything regardless of how great or
terrible your teacher may be.
If it's a chapter test in a subject that has review questions at the end of each chapter, make flash cards from the questions. Put a question on the front and the answer on the back. Write just the chapter at the top of the
card and study in order of each chapter at first to layer the concepts in your brain. Once you've self-quizzed OUT LOUD and gotten the info correct several times, then mix them up to re-quiz. If you have class notes, do the same thing. Make questions with answers on the back. If you have just readings, then you should insist on some guide from your teacher. Remember, your teacher is obligated to provide you with information to help you earn as much as possible. If you don’t ask, then it’s on you. You have to know what you are expected to recall for tests.
You should start studying a full week before any big test, at least. Never ever ever wait until 2 or 3 days before. Life happens and something could come up to interfere with last minute cramming and it doesn't get done. Besides, the human brain hates cramming. It revolts against it and will let you down. Your brain does, however, love layers and using multiple senses to get the data and store it so you can later retrieve it. A vocabulary quiz should be no less than 3 days before. They can be easy A’s and will really help your grade if you slip up on some other assignment or test and don’t do so hot. Again, put the word on the front and the definition and its use in a sentence on the back. Know what your word means. Spell out loud, read out loud. Use your senses.
Get as many sense involved as possible. Writing out your info on flash cards involves your sense of touch (tactile). Reading your data usually involves your sight, reading aloud incorporates your sense of hearing (auditory). Try to put catchy phrases or rhymes or similar sounding words with your data to help you remember things. A tune or music or rhythm will also greatly help with storing and later retrieving your information. Whatever you can do to make the data come to life and pop will make the learning process stick better so when you're looking at the blank test sheet on Friday, your brain will not disappoint you.
Flash cards are your friend. So get friendly.