14 answers

What helps you study for a test?

Asked Mountain View, California

I have been terrible at studying for tests, but I am hoping that you can help me. Please teach me how to study. #testing

14 answers

MelissaWilliams’s Answer

Updated Redwood City, California

I've found that the most important thing in preparing for a test is to PLAN AHEAD. Don't wait until the last minute to cram! I always find that I want to be DONE preparing two days before the test, e.g., if the test is on Wednesday, I'm fully prepared for the test by Monday. This means, I start studying at least the week before (or for final exams two or three weeks before).

How you study also depends on the type of test. For math or physics tests, I find that practicing as many problems as possible is helpful--go through all of the homeworks you've done, re-do the problems, understand why you get them right or wrong, and try other practice problems if you can find more. For science, history, english, or social studies tests where there's a lot of memorization, I find that re-writing and re-organizing my notes is very helpful for getting the knowledge down.

Finally, when you're doing the studying, make sure you're in a good environment where you will not have distractions and where you have enough space and light, e.g, the library. When you're studying don't get distracted, but take breaks. For example, I always tell myself that I'm going to work for 30min then take a 5min break. This means I do nothing but studying for those 30min (no visiting facebook or youtube or checking for texts from friends), then I reward myself with a 5min break, and then start again.

Studying TAKES TIME. Plan ahead so you give yourself enough time. And focus on studying in the time you've allocated for studying.

When writing down notes from a history book, how can we know what are the most important things to write down and be ready for the AP U.S History Test in May?

Rachel’s Answer


You will need to focus on stress and time management. In order to manage stress you have to manage your time wisely. <span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Here is how to be successful in them:</span>

  1. <span style="background-color: transparent;">Stay on track - do assignments early, finish things a head of time, and be aware of all of your deadlines</span>
  2. <span style="background-color: transparent;">do all the the assignments and read all of the coursework required- do not cut corners</span>
  3. <span style="background-color: transparent;">use Google calendar to keep track of deadlines</span>
  4. <span style="background-color: transparent;">communicate with your professor early if something comes up</span>
  5. <span style="background-color: transparent;">do not be afraid to ask for an extension if you need one</span>
  6. <span style="background-color: transparent;">study, and study a lot! you don't have regular class sessions so you will need to put in more work at home.</span>
  7. <span style="background-color: transparent;">Do your best and genuinely try hard to give it your all.</span>

The best way to score high on the test is to Google search an online program or book that will help you study. Once you find an online lesson plan for success you can use it as a road map for studying. Otherwise, find a book to help you study and spend 45 mins a night reading through it and studying. Depending on when you test is, the first thing you will want to do is organize a studying schedule for yourself. Target studying certain sections of the test and divide them up by the weeks/months you have until you have to take it.

Shadi’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

It depends on what type of test taker you are. Some people do better cramming last minute, others need to absorb the material slowly and over time. And that style changes over time and depending on the subject.

I study early on, reading through the materials once just to get familiar with the overall concepts, terms, ideas, and flow of information. I leave it alone and may do some online research. A few days later I'll go back to the material and start to take notes or highlight pages. If there's practice exams, I'll dig into those, too. Also, when I have to test on something I don't like too much or that seems difficult, I find one thing about it that I like, can relate to, and understand; that nugget helps me warm up to the material faster. It's made things easier for me. Hope that helped!

Kat’s Answer

Updated Sunnyvale, California

Hi Kyiana,

How do you learn? For example, if you wanted to learn something new like how to check the tire pressure of your car tire or how to cook a turkey, what would you do? Based on the type of learner you are, create a study program that uses those learning techniques. For example:

  • If you'd pick watching a video on YouTube - look for educational videos on YouTube and other websites (like Khan academy).

  • If you'd go get the car manual or cookbook and read through it - read your text book and other study guides, perhaps taking notes or highlighting things to help you remember.

  • If you'd just go out there and do it until you figured it out - keep practicing problems (for a math class) or writing sample answers (for a writing class) until you get comfortable with it. The test will look just like what you've been practicing!

There are lots of other ways. Do you learn by listening? Try an audio book. By speaking? Try teaching the material to someone else after you've read it. Have a photographic memory? Write it down. Ask a friend for help? Find a study partner.

Personally, I learn best by watching videos and by writing things down. But we're all different, so find a style that works for you. :)

Gary’s Answer

Updated Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India

It took me a little while to find a studying system that worked for me. My biggest piece of advice would be to practice multiple studying approaches until you find one that works for you. Start by identifying the things that make you feel that you're terrible at studying. Is it that you find it difficult to spend enough time studying? Is it that you spend a lot of time but the studying isn't effective? Is it that you spend a lot of time and the studying is effective but you get distracted easily? Maybe it's another situation as well. The solution will be different depending on which problem you're facing.

In my case, I found that I was getting distracted easily, so I started studying in a library, and intentionally removing any distractions from my study area (put everything away and into my backpack except my books and papers). I also found that buying an egg timer (standard electronic kitchen timer) and putting it right by my study area on a count-down from 60 minutes helped me focus. Whenever I started to feel uncomfortable (which is when I would normally start to look for distraction), I would see the timer counting down and it would help me get reinvigorated to finish my studying. I tried other things that didn't work as well, so the first thing you try may not solve your problems immediately.

I'm not necessarily suggesting this solution for you, by the way. I'm using this as an example to show you how you might take a study problem and try to experiment with a specific solution that works for you.

Studying is hard, but mastery is rewarding. Good luck.

Ariel’s Answer

Updated Mountain View, California

Hi Kyiana!

Everyone studies differently, so you really have to find the best studying practice that works for you. How do you best learn? Is it by writing things down, listening to a lecture from your teacher, or applying real life examples to your work? Think of how you learn on a day-to-day basis, and then apply those actions when you're trying to study.

For me, I learn best by writing down notes, organizing those notes (fyi: highlighters are super helpful!) and then testing myself. Also, try to study for understanding, and not for memory. I know that its super easy to just cram for a test and then forget all of the information after test day :). If you apply the information that you're learning to something that you do everyday (example: studying percentages, and applying those to sales at a store or the mall), then you may better understand the concepts of what you're studying.

This works for me, hopefully this helps you too!

Roland’s Answer


Great question. This depends on what type of learner you are. I’m reminded of the VARK model for learning. Are you a visual, auditory, reading/writing or kinesthetics learner.

Visual - prefer to see info and visualize the relationships between ideas

Auditory - prefer to hear info rather than see it or reading it or seeing it displayed visually

Reading/Writing - reading and writing is more powerful for this learner rather than hearing information

Kinesthetics - Hands-on, experimental learners; they learn best by doing

Which type of learner are you? Taylor the way your study toward they way your best retain information. I myself do better with kinesthetics.

Gloria’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

For me, it was always helpful to re-read all the material I had and take notes. That way you're actively thinking about the material you're reading and absorbing it. It is also helpful because you have the notes to go back to for the main things you need to remember. I also find it immensely helpful to take a lot of practice exams if you have access to them, or redo old homework questions.

I always studied better alone but I know a lot of people who benefited from having a study partner. You can quiz each other or ask each other for clarifications.

Marie’s Answer

Updated Sunnyvale, California

I agree that it is very beneficial to try different methods of studying and find what works best for you.

In addition to studying, when approaching a test, what works for me to is to keep a note pad, I go through and answer the questions I definitely know, then the ones I likely know etc. I use the notebook to write the question # down, so that as I go back to answer I cross it out to make sure I didn't miss anything. I tend to also bundle like type of questions. For example, I'll do all the essays at once. for me it helped to get in a frame of mind to think about stucturing my essays all together, rather than back and forth between fill in the blanks, multiple choice and essays.

When working on essay questions, I start at the end of the question. Usually that's where the true question lies, then I go through the question and pull out only the information that is directly related to the question.

Again, this is what works for me, try it and see if it works for you.

Kari’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

I took a class on study skills and learned about different ways to study, to see what type learning style I had (auditory, visual etc.), to learn ways to help focus (having lemon oil or peppermint oil to inhale before a studying for an energy boost, to breathing techniques to help me concentrate), and so much more. If your college offers such a class - take it as for each person it is different. For example, if you are a visual learner you could study by: Using videos or documentaries for research; draw graphs, charts, pictures, and maps in your notes to increase retention; highlight facts, main ideas, themes with different colors; use flash cards which are useful to study vocabulary, formulas, dates, names, etc.; Visualize what you read or illustrate what you've read.

Once you find out what type of learner you are - then you can focus on the tips and tricks that are right for you.

Here is a site I used and think may be helpful for you: http://www.sophia.org/preparing-for-college/college-success-study-skills-101

Han’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

I think you can see from the above answers that there are lots of different methods and different people prefer different things. A successful studying strategy comes down to figuring out what works for you. I would ask yourself questions like:

  • Do I remember things better if I talk through it with someone else or if I study alone?
  • Do I learn things better if I see it or hear it? If I repeat it?
  • Am I more focused in the morning, afternoon or evening?
  • Is noise a distraction when I'm studying or do I need a bit of background noise to help me focus?
  • Can I memorize / learn big blocks of material at once or do I need time to let it sink in?

For me, I figured out that I studied best when I: worked alone, wrote it down a few times so I could see it, studied in the morning in a quiet place, and spread my studying into smaller chunks (2 hours at a time) over a week or so.

Kelvin’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

For me what works best with tests is actually reading/studying notes only. I've noticed that going through textbooks wasted a lot of my time by reading and looking at things that wasn't important or needed on the test. It's all about taking the best notes during class, even when they are not presented on slides. Take down what the Professor is saying, and this also helps you listen more intently the first time around. I also try to tutor my classmates with material if they need it, because when you tutor/teach others it actually helps you understand that topic even more.

Chad’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

What helped me is writing done key notes and my thoughts, then reviewing them after studying. This really helps me with topics that I find myself confused or intrigued about.

Also talking to others about the topic will help gain a broader perspective and more likely a deeper understanding.

Chelsea’s Answer

Updated Sunnyvale, California

Test yourself! Don't just read textbooks and notes; it doesn't give any indication that you will remember the material when it's not there in front of you. Either take practice tests in the book or by searching online, or make flashcards (ex: scientific term on one side, with definition on the other). If you can come up with the answer to a question without having to check your notes, then you know the material well. It's a sure-fire way to know if you are prepared or not.