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How to study efficiently for any exams and get good grades?

Some of my exams are coming up and I wanted to know ways of studying efficiently and usefully, which can lead me to do good in my tests. studying-tips

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Josha’s Answer

Great question Neha.

Unfortunately there isn't a one size fits all magic trick to studying efficiently and getting good grades. This really depends on a few factors. First, what type of course/content is the exam you are taking? For example, if it is a math or science class, I would recommend a lot of practice problems to ensure you're familiar with the formulas and calculations, and can get answers in a timely manner. Review any homework assignments and do extra practice problems from the text book. If there are any concepts you are struggling with, reach out to your teacher or a classmate to help.

However, if the class is a history or literature course it depends on the type of exam. If it is going to be a multiple choice test, you'll want to make sure you know key dates, people, themes, etc. However, if it is going to be essay based, you want to understand the broader themes, cause & effect, symbolism, impact of the reading/historical chapters. To study for these, first and foremost read the assigned readings. While reading, I like to take a lot of notes or highlight passages and make notes in the margins. For me, I need to write things down to commit them to memory, but some people can just read something once and understand it. Do what works best for you, if you don't need to spend time taking detailed notes then don't. But if you're like me, and you need that to retain the information, then do.

For any exam, I would ask the teacher if they have a list of items which will be covered and potentially sample questions. Do all of your intinal studying first as if you don't have this information, and then go back and review their list and see how you do. This simulates a practice test. Then you can focus on the areas you really struggled with.

A lot of tests allow you to have a sheet of notes during the exam. I like to build my sheet of notes after I've done some "practice tests". Once I've identified areas I don't know as well I focus studying those but also adding those to my note sheet. For example key formulas, dates, themes, concepts, whatever I need. If there are things I know comfortably, I don't put those on my note sheet since they just take space away from something I don't know.
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Vickie’s Answer

Hi Neha!

I recommend checking out the pomodoro method of studying. I have used this throughout medical school and has helped with my focus while studying. The key here is that you don't just study for 4 hours straight. Efficient and productive studying incorporates break times so that your brain doesn't get fatigued.

The gist of the pomodoro method is that you will work for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break. You do this for 4 cycles then you can take a longer 10-15 minute break. There are timers pre-made for this if you just google them.

Other general tips that I have:
- Make your studying space comfortable. Best if its quiet without distractions. Have your space organized, including the room you're studying in and your desk space, if possible. If it is noisy, you can try headphones but make sure your music is not a distraction so I suggest anything without lyrics like movie soundtracks.
- Stay hydrated and fed! Keep a water bottle and a few snacks near you.
- Not necessary at all but I enjoy nice stationary like nice pens and highlighters. Makes the studying a little more bearable.
- This is also highly dependent on what's available to you, but try to have your study space separate from your bedroom. I'm always tempted to just crawl into bed so I try to keep them apart if I can. You could try to study at a public library or something as well.

Vickie recommends the following next steps:
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for the question and you have the motivation to have good grades.
Firstly, you may need to complete the assignment, projects and do the revision after every lesson to ensure have you acquire the understanding of the context. This cannot wait to do it during the exam period.
I suggest you can put down a revision plan everyday :
1. Assign the time everyday for your revision
2. Put down the the chapters, topics, etc. you would revise on in the plan
3. Practise on the past papers if available
4. Form study groups with you classmates to exchange the ideas. If there is anything not clear, the group can help one another
5. Plan some time to do some exercise or relax
6. Make sure you have sufficient sleep before the exam
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Neha,

Studying techniques are often very personal. It depends on how you learn and what your memory likes best. I am a note taker. Not just when I am in a class but when I am reading as well. I write with a paper and pen a lot. I write what was said but more often I write my interpretation of what I read or an example of what it meant. I even write in the books that I am reading. So what am I writing? I often write what I think is important in my own words. Or I may write down what question I may have right where I have it.

I do sometimes type my thoughts if I have the option to in class. And I type a lot. So what do I do with my notes whether written or typed? I re-read them before an exam. I am much older than you are but I still got to classes and take tests, mostly around the job that I do.

Another element I use is to try and guess the questions that will be asked. I literally write the questions. When I was in college, I would ask my classmates what they thought that the questions would be. Then I would look up the answers.

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Sylvia’s Answer

Hi Neha, below are some tips I use for your reference.

1. Find a place and time that you could fully concentrate. If you cannot concentrate, you can’t remember and absorb what you have been reading.
2. Write down notes. It’s important to have your own notes as you will have a stronger memory once you put it down and you could quickly review these points once again before the exam.
3. After you finish a chapter, do some quiz and try to recall what are the important concept of this chapter. This will help you realize which part you are not familiar with.
4. Absorb as much as you can during class. Many students fall asleep in class, and turns out they need to spend more time studying. What teachers teach in class is often the important concept, so if you could understand as much as possible and raise question right away, you could save lots of time.
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Shernette’s Answer

Hello Neha,
There are several ways to study for a test. However, some of research based strategy I would use is retrieval practice. With this strategy you can study the material you already know and connect it with materials you already know. Connecting previously learned materials with new material will help you to see if there are gaps in your content knowledge. You could also use spaced practice and dual coding to assist you with remembering the material you are learning. You may also want to incorporate the pomodoro technique to help you pace yourself as you study. I hope these strategies will help you to ace your test.
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Carlyn’s Answer

Low stakes quizzing by creating flash cards or writing quiz questions for a friend and swapping quizzes. If you spend 5 minutes at the end of each day doing 'free recall where you write down the concepts that you remember from a class or reading this helps build memory.
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Neha! I agree with the previous answers! I would also try to connect topics so you could reinforce learning. I think it is very helpful for science courses especially. In addition make sure to stay organized and break out your studying so you know what to do each day and the work doesn't add up. Spaced studying is very efficient in this manner, where you study each day instead of cramming the night before- it definitely helps much with retention!

Best of luck!