When you think about it, who do you trust most when it comes to test prep? Odds are, you have your own system for preparing for exams that you developed through years of trial and error. You know approximately what works and what doesn’t for you.
But let’s take a step back from that. How consciously did you develop your own study habits? Did you pay close attention as you cultivated this style of yours, or did you just get used to doing what came easiest and most naturally? Hopefully you didn’t just wing it, but even if you put a lot of thought and effort into your study system there is likely still room for improvement.
We study for so many tests in our lives that the act of studying becomes routine. We stop paying close attention to our methods and we just focus on the simple fact that we are “studying.” It becomes more about fulfilling an obligation; putting a check in the box. And our retention of the material falls by the wayside, along with our study habits.
Why is this? Perhaps because even though the need to practice has been drilled into us since we were very young, most people pay very little attention to how they are practicing. In other words: we know that we need to study often, but we fool ourselves into thinking that we are studying when we really aren’t, or when we’re only phoning it in.
TestSoup aims to change that. We want to remind people that there are smarter ways to study out there. You know the phrase “work smarter, not harder” right? It also applies to studying. Why bother sitting in front of a text book for hours when you could get so much more out of making studying an active process? If you can learn the material more quickly, why waste time doing things any other way?
Getting back to the original question of this post: who do you trust the most when it comes to study habits? Rather, who should you trust most when it comes to study habits? Most likely, you should trust someone who actually has devoted years and years to consciously developing the most effective study system.
In other words: trust a tutor. They know what they’re talking about. Not only are they experts on the specific subject matter, they have spent their careers working out clever ways to make the most out of every hour spent studying.
That’s why TestSoup is embarking on a quest to find expert tutors to write guest posts for our blog filled with study hints and tips. We’re going to be looking for the best, the brightest, and the most creative. We want to help you learn all you can about study methods, so the next time you need to study for a big test you won’t just being repeating those same, tired moves you’ve been making since middle school.
Worried about that big test coming up soon? Got finals, the SAT or even the GMAT causing your stress levels to rise and your heart to beat faster and faster every day? Here are some tips to ensure you prepare the best way possible so that you can take your test with your head high, confident of your cognitive abilities.
Don’t cram all of your studying in the day before, or even two days before. Studies show that it is best to study little by little, every night for at least a few days. This will help you remember things more easily and ensures that you give yourself ample time to prepare for every question a test may throw at you. Cramming it all in the night before will only make it more difficult to retain all of the information and may also cause you to lose sleep and raise stress levels as you rush to study everything hours before the start of your exam.
Get a good night’s sleep the day before your test. Studies prove that much of the memory retention you have occurs during sleep, so in order for you to benefit most from your studying you have to sleep so that the information can soak into your mind. A good nights rest will always leave you feeling refreshed, energized and sharp in the morning: perfect test taking mode. You should also be sure to eat a big breakfast, as this will help keep you focused on the task at hand instead of allowing your mind to wander while your test sits idly in front of you, the clock ticking away…
During the test, be sure to pace yourself accordingly. Chances are you have a limited amount of time to test, so you should be sure to skip over the questions that initially give you trouble so you are sure to make it to all of the problems you know with confidence.
Remember to relax in the days leading up to the test as well. The second you start to freak out over the test is the second you start to lose focus and concentration, and eventually it may cause you to lose points. If you stay optimistic about things and remain focused and poised, you stand a much better chance of studying efficiently and effectively. Relaxing before a test will also set your mind at ease—you need to be sure that you remain grounded when the time comes so that you can delve into the depths of your memory and pull out the answer that you know is lurking in there somewhere.