How to Prepare for a Test

Here are some tips on what your child should do to prepare for an upcoming test or exam!

Keep up with school work

Keeping up with course work will make preparing for an upcoming test much less stressful. This is why students are strongly advised to attend classes regularly, keep up with their course readings/homework and to take effective/informative notes. Staying on-top of school work ensures that the student doesn’t have to cram (or teach themselves) new material before the test, and this in turn reduces the mental strain that they may be experiencing. Keeping up with school work also provides students with enough time to seek out help and clarify any concepts that they may be struggling with.

Review course material/concepts regularly after class

Reviewing the concepts covered in class will not only help to solidify what you learned but may also bring to light concepts you don’t fully understand. Having identified the concepts you don’t understand, seek out help from your teacher for clarification and extra practice questions. As a student it very important to identify your weaknesses so that you can work on improving them. It’s also strongly advised to re-write your in class notes in a more organized manner by highlighting key-terms, adding examples and referencing course readings. This will make studying for a test much more efficient.

Spread out your study time

Organize your time so that you will have studied/reviewed all you notes by the test day. This can be done by creating an outline/schedule of what you need to study and how much time you need to spend studying. Having your studying time planned out in advance will reduce any stress associated with not being able to complete your studies in time for the upcoming test. Spreading out your study time (and not procrastinating) will also give your brain enough time to process what you’ve studied, which will allow you to better recall the studied information on the test day.

Do not multitask while studying

While studying DO NOT multitask! Set aside all distractions (TV, laptop, phone, internet etc.) and focus on the task at hand. By focusing all your attention on the task at hand (studying for a test) you are more likely to remember what you studied that day than if your attention was split.

Understand the scope of the test

Make sure you know what material is fair game for the test. Before you start preparing for a test, make sure you know what material the test will cover, what type of test it will be (multiple choice, true/false, short answer, essay), how the test will be graded, and how much the test will count toward your final grade. All this information, will help you prioritize and develop the best study strategies to do well on the test.

Aim to UNDERSTAND the concepts and how to APPLY them

Tests are made to test your understanding not your ability to recall meaningless facts. So as a student it’s important you develop the ability to distinguish between meaningful and unnecessary information. When studying for a test its important you understand the main concepts and are able to apply/integrate these concept with others you have learned.

Complete practice tests/review question

After you are done studying, test your knowledge by completing practice tests and review questions. Upon completion of these tests and questions, identify your strengths and weaknesses and set aside more time to review the concepts you got wrong. Reviewing the test/practice questions will also help you recall the information better on test day.

Study in groups

Research has indicated that studying in groups can be more effective that studying alone. It’s often very effective to have students teach each other as they are all on the same academic level and communicate better with one another. A group setting is also an excellent way to test your understanding of what you’ve studied by having group members quiz one another. In order to have an effective study group make sure the members all share similar academic goals are you and are not just there to hangout and have fun.

Take regular study breaks

Take regular breaks (approximately 10 minutes) in between study sessions. These breaks will allow your brain to rest and consolidate the material you’ve just studied. Allowing your brain to consolidate information will significantly enhance your recall memory on test day. During the breaks its strongly advised to participate in relaxing activities and to consume healthy snacks (ex: fruits and nuts) to both rejuvenate and relieve your body of stress and pressure.

Rest

It’s essential that you get enough sleep on the night before your test (at least 8 hours) as this will keep your brain healthy and focused for the upcoming test. DO NOT stay up all night cramming! This will only deplete your energy before the test, decrease your ability to recall information and may even cause you to lose information you’ve previously retained. Having a good night’s rest will make sure you are energised and ready to take your test.