We have hundreds of videos and resources on studying techniques but we thought it was time for an ultimate guide on how to study for a test. Any test. And (specifically) how to get the best results you can with the least amount of work.
Obviously, some exams have specifics we can’t account for here (check out the search bar if you want some specific stuff) but as a general rule, there are some things you can do which are going to help you in pretty much any kind of test or exam.
To make the most from your studying don’t focus on the time you invest. Focus on the quality of your study session over the quantity you do. This is one of the key things we focus on and we absolutely think you can get twice the results in half the time. Make sure you grab the free audiobook Unlimited Memory by a chess grandmaster which will absolutely transform your results overnight if you apply the techniques.
To start with, here are some fairly common suggestions.
Keep in mind that everyone is going to vary differently here. Sometimes external factors like distractions or work schedules are going to make demands that you just can’t avoid. Everyone studies at least a little differently but this should give you a basic idea of things you can try.
- Music without lyrics on the loop This is a scientifically proven fact that music without vocals helps people focus while they study.
- Subject variety – rather than focusing on just one or two subjects. Studies show that it is more effective to study multiple subjects each day.
- Take Breaks
- Exercise active students usually perform better.
- Take Notes and Make Notes Familiarity with the content is the key to being able to learn it well. I find it crucial to take good notes.
- Teach the concept to someone science has shown that when we study something to learn it vs to teach it, the understanding and retention is much more enhanced when we are preparing to teach.
- Solve a problem with a Friend Science has shown that studying with someone or in a group helps most people.
- Information Variety – Learn the same information in a variety of ways – Research shows that different media stimulate different parts of the brain.
- Sleep Studies show that it is the alpha waves which help in reduction of stress and anxiety as well as with memory and creativity.
- Test – do practice tests and mock tests often – Decades of research has shown that taking practice tests is crucial to improving your academic performance.
You can see more advice like this on Quora.
I know these are some seriously generic suggestions and we’ve covered them all before (usually more in-depth) but if you’re not applying them you really should consider it.
Don’t leave it until the last minute. While some students do seem to thrive on last-minute cramming, it’s widely accepted that (for most of us) this is not the best way to approach an exam. To help sort out your time management, set up a timetable for your study. Write down how many exams you have and the days on which you have to sit them. Then organize your study accordingly. You may want to give some exams more study time than others, so find a balance that you feel comfortable with.
Make sure you have enough space to spread your textbooks and notes out. Have you got enough light? Is your chair comfortable? Are your computer games out of sight?
Try and get rid of all distractions, and make sure you feel as comfortable and able to focus as possible. For some people, this may mean almost complete silence, for others, background music helps. Some of us need everything completely tidy and organized in order to concentrate, while others thrive in a more cluttered environment. Think about what works for you, and take the time to get it right.
Visual aids can be really helpful when revising. At the start of a topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you already know about a topic – and then highlight where the gaps lie. Closer to the exam, condense your revision notes into one-page diagrams. Getting your ideas down in this brief format can then help you to quickly recall everything you need to know during the exam.
One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to practice taking past versions. This helps you get used to the format of the questions, and – if you time yourself – can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.
You can read the full source here.
Again, there’s a lot of variation to all of this. Trying to do it all at once is a recipe for disaster (or at least a headache) but start working them into your study routine and see what works for you. You should feel free to constantly bend and adapt as you see what works and what doesn’t. Learning how to study for a test and what works for you with save you a lot of time and effort in the long run and prevent you wasting time studying inefficiently.