Helpful Study & Test Taking Tips
- Gather all of your study materials together (textbook, notes, worksheets, paper, pencil, and whatever else you need).
- Skim the material, deciding which parts are difficult and which you understand best.
- Plan how much time you need for each topic.
- Read a sentence or two. Stop and close your eyes, trying to visualize what the sentence is talking about. If you do not understand it, go back over it.
- Read aloud and study with a partner or parent. Listen to yourself as you read.
- Think up possible test questions, and quiz yourself.
- Recopy your notes for clarity. You'll understand them better.
- Mark main ideas or key terms in your notes.
- Pay special attention to vocabulary words or bold type in your textbook
- Make a written outline of the book material, or just take notes. Most textbooks are outlined for you with key topics and subtopics in different size or color print.
- Think back on what points the teacher emphasized in class. If appropriate, ask the teacher how many points will be devoted to each topic covered by the test.
- Try mnemonics, devices to help you memorize large amounts of information. A mnemonic can be a word made up from the first letters of a list of words you want to remember. For instance, "ROY G. BIV" is the mnemonic for the colors of the visible light spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). A mnemonic can also be a sentence of words with the same first letters as the words with the same first letters as the words in the list. An example of this is "King Phillip Came Over For God Spaghetti," the mnemonic for the scientific classification levels of living things (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species).
- Another tactic is association, relating ridiculous mental pictures to the material and then linking all of the pictures together. For example, to remember the phases of mitosis, the following phrase might be helpful: "My toe says, 'The professor met an ant on a television interview." (The phases of mitosis are prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase, and interphase.)
Test Taking Techniques
- Always put your full name and class period on the test paper and answer sheet.
- Read over the entire test, especially the instructions.
- Answer the ones you know and the ones requiring quick answers first, unless it is a standardized test.
- If there is an answer you are afraid you might forget, do it immediately.
- Many times you can get clues to answers from reading other parts of the test.
- Keep an eye on the time. Budget your time, allowing more time to answer essay questions or other questions that are worth many points.
- Find out if there is a penalty for guessing. On many standardized tests some fraction of the number wrong is subtracted from the number right. This makes blind guessing unprofitable, but if you must guess, here are some ways to handle specific types of questions:
- In true-false tests, long statements are often true. (A teacher trying to be as specific as possible tends to lengthen the statement.) Words such as only, never, and always often indicate the statement is false. Words such as often, sometimes, probably, and usually often indicate the statement is true.
- Multiple-choice tests usually offer four choices. Rule out two immediately, then take a crack at the remaining two. Then you may have at least a 50-50 chance. Often distracters such as "all of the above" or "none of the above" are not the correct answer.
- For matching sections, use the process of elimination as you do in answering multiple-choice questions.
- Essay or short answer questions require you to organize your thoughts before you write. Be sure to be grammatically correct. Underline key words or ideas in your answer so that they stand out. You might even write them with a colored pen or pencil. Be clear and concise.
- When you are finished, check the entire test to be sure you haven't skipped any questions.
- There is no substitute for knowing the material. Prepare yourself thoroughly for tests. This includes paying attention in class, using your time well in class, and seeing the teacher for extra help.
Studying For Exams
Preparing for exams should not be the anxiety-ridden, heart wrenching, time-consuming task it's often made out to be. If you have kept up with your assignments and reviewed your notes, you will feel confident about your exams. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:
One Or Two Weeks Before The Test
- Start at least a week ahead of time. Mark out your study schedule on your calendar - with extra time for exam prep. Make it a priority! Don't just cram the night before!
- Prepare a study guide - what you plan to study and when.
- Review your class notes and your textbook chapters. Don't just reread. After a few sections or pages, rephrase and recite the material out loud or jot down the main points.
- Avoid distractions - even cleaning your room looks good before a test.
- Study with at least one classmate or friend. Make up some sample questions. Ask your classmates what they think will be on the test.
- Reward yourself after you've put in a good study time!
The Night Before
- Don't cram! Review your notes briefly, especially items you've had trouble with.
- Get a good night's sleep.
The Day Of The Test
- Eat breakfast. If caffeine bothers you, avoid it.
- Prepare yourself mentally. Take a deep breath, then say to yourself, "I have studied for this test. I know the material. I am ready!"
- Look over the whole test and map out your time. Remember, spend the most time on items that count the most.
- Answer the questions you know first - then go back and work on the harder ones. Answer every question -- partial credit is better than no credit.
- Review. Go back over your test and check for mistakes. Proofread your answers and check your math problems.
Texas Success Initiative - College Entrance Exams
ACT - www.act.org
SAT - www.collegeboard.com
THEA - www.thea.nesinc.com
Unless you are TSI exempt, you must take the THEA before enrolling in a public college in Texas. This website also provides all information about TEA and THeA Quick Test and practice tests.
Thea exemption - ACT - 23
SAT - 1070
TAKS - 2200 on both math and ELA with a 3 on the writing.
Test Prep Sites:
www.collegeforalltexans.com - TOPCAT (Texas Online Preparation for College Admissions Tests)Free online SAT and ACT Prep courses.