12 January 2010

Studying for Semester Finals

My oldest is about to embark the first time on a very scary journey: taking her high school semester finals. Before this time, she would be able to take her exams in the comfort of her own room, but now that she is in high school, she needs to go to a testing center to take them. Then, for the next two days, she will be taking exams in each of her six subjects. Currently, she feels overwhelmed by the task ahead of her and it is my job to help her over this hurdle. So, I felt it timely to bore all of you with how we are going to go about acing these tests. On a serious note, I would ask that you all please pray for her; she can really use it. Hopefully this information will help...


Studying for your exams:

Three important words: organize, organize, organize. You need to organize all of your course materials and study guides. Make sure everything is in one place and easy to get at. This may seem like a simple step and it is, but it is less intimidating to work from neatly stacked papers rather than a box stuffed with them.

The first thing you should do is remember that your teachers are there to help you to learn and succeed, not try to see you fail. If they supply a study guide, use it! They know what's on the exam, so use whatever weapons they give you.

Once you have all your study guides, take a moment to sit back and take a breath. Studying for multiple exams can be very intimidating, but just remember to take it one course at a time.

Set aside a block of time for each class and concentrate on only one class for that period of time. Try to do just one unit per day, per course.

Start at the beginning of the term and review each lesson in that unit.

If possible, try and review your old exams.

If possible, redo some of your old assignments (math).

Actually write down what you read (if you are working from a study guide, just answer the questions that are in the guide). However, you do need to actually write it down, as this will help you retain the knowledge.

I have found that actually teaching (speaking out loud) the information helps me to retain the knowledge. Imagine that you are teaching the information to someone and if no one is around, teach your favorite pet or stuffed animal.

If you get tired, take a break and do something else for ten or fifteen minutes.

Oh, and take it from someone who knows: cramming does not work, so don't leave your studying for the last minute. If you have a week or more to prepare, use that time! If you try and leave everything to the last minute, you will find yourself hopelessly overwhelmed (again, I've been there).

I realize that all this is obvious, so why even bother writing about it? Yes, it is obvious, but when you are on the other side of the exams, sometimes it is the obvious things that we need to be reminded about.

If you know of any other tricks or tips, please let me know.

8 comments:

  1. I had horrible study habits but yet always did well on tests so I don't have much advice. I did use flashcards to help me study for the CPA exam. I also know from being a GTA in grad school, go with your first choice on multiple choice questions. I can't tell ya how many times the students had the right answer but erased it and chose the wrong one after second guessing themselves.

    Good luck to your daughter and I hope her tests go well!

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  2. BeadedTail: I have to admit that I was probably one of those students who changed their answers. I would go back over the test and start second-guessing my answers and then go in and change them. Yes, I would later find out that the first answer was the correct one.
    Thank you, I'll remind her about that.

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  3. I was never very good at studying. Too easily distracted. My kids however were even worse than I was. It made it hard to try and give them advice. Too bad I didn't have your list back then :)

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  4. Great post. Depending on the subject flash cards can be very helpful. There are some people though who do better cramming. My son was one of those. Also, I think if the material is available in a computer format to study many kids do well that way too. I think the most important thing of all is to know yourself, how you feel relaxed and alert when you study and then focus on the task at hand. Best of luck to your daughter and I'll certainly keep her in my prayers. High school can be so stressful let alone exams.

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  5. Good luck to her! Studying is not fun, but it does pay off. ;)

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  6. Ann: I've been lucky to not be easily distracted...oh, look, a squirrel ;)

    Mountain Woman: Thank you. Yeah, she was really stressed-out about it last night. We had a good talk and I helped her get organized. Today, she seemed to be better. Thank you for your prayers.

    Your Daily Cute: Thank you very much.

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  7. I needed this advice during my first time through college! Oh, well. I'll keep it in mind this time. And I need all the help I can get for this degree!

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  8. Rebekah: I could have used it myself. My study habits were horrible. Don't worry, you'll do great!

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