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Student Sucess at Touro: Test-taking and Study Skills

This guide is intended to help new and continuing students succeed in all points of university, from your first weeks to crossing the graduation stage

Test Prep

1. Be prepared

  • Don't cram for your exam the night before. If you don't know the test material, all the test strategies in the world will not help you. 
  • Spend as many hours as necessary to confidently understand the material 

2. Find out what you already know

  • Gather all your information in one place (syllabi, readings, notes, etc.).
  • Make a list of key concepts and define as many of them as you can from memory. 
  • Make an outline starting with higher concepts and filling in details of sub-concepts and examples in as much detail as you can
    • This method will help you create an organized way of remembering the details that fall under the higher concepts 

3. Utilize your textbook

  • Answer practice problems
  • Read through and memorize important concepts 
  • At the end of chapters textbooks may have practice tests or extra problems

4. Make a study guide

  • Some professors will give study guides out, but if not they are not hard to make
  • Decide on your format: 
    • If you're a visual learner, consider using color-coded sections in your study guides or using idea mapping to draw out the information and make it more accessible 
    • Concept mapping to connect main ideas and prioritize information: write each main concept in a separate bubble according to it's importance. Then connect associated bubbles to visualize connecting ideas
    • Use comparison charts to highlight differences in key concepts
      • Comparison charts are beneficial for comparing characters and attributes in literature, as well as scientific theories against one another 
    • Flash cards are a great way to memorize vocabulary or more simple concepts. 
      • The website www.quizlet.com has free online flash cards, as well as other study tools
    • Write your own sample tests

​​​​​​​5. Study effectively

  • Break your work down into manageable chunks
  • Take breaks! Our brains retain more information when there is time to process 
  • Space out your studying: start early so you don't have to cram

Study Plans

What is a study plan? 

A study plan is a way of outlining study times and goals for learning and exams. This plan includes times set aside for studying, as well as all dates and times of quizzes, exams, papers and projects. It is also recommended to add any extra curriculars or work commitments. Study plans allow you to visualize how you're spending your time to ensure that you have ample time to learn and study. 

Tips for creating a study plan

1. Analyze your current study habits and learning styles

It is important to understand the way that your brain retains information so that you are effectively using study time. Think about what works for you currently: Are you most productive in the morning or at night? Can you study for long blocks or do you get distracted after half an hour? Do you retain material better if you study right after class or do you need a break? Identifying your learning style, which will be discussed below, will help you find an effective studying method. 

2. Learning styles

There are four well researched learning styles. Although within each of these categories there can be overlap in the way that you best learn, these four are a good place to start if you are unsure of your learning style. The four categories are: 

1. Auditory: learn new material best through listening and speaking. Will benefit from listening to lectures and group discussions. Repetition can be a beneficial study technique. Additionally, auditory learners can benefit from the use of mnemonic devices (creating acronyms and phrases for important information such as "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally," or PEMDAS, for Parenthesis, Exponent, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction.)

  • record your notes and listen to them on tape
  • talk to others to expand your understanding of the topic
  • reread your notes/assignments/readings out loud
  • explain your notes to your peers

2. Visual: learn with the use of diagrams and drawing out concepts and charts, as well as using photographs. Visual learners would likely benefit from a study plan. 

  • utilize charts, graphs and diagrams from your textbooks
  • rewrite your notes from memory
  • replace important words with symbols or initials
  • highlight important words in different colors

3. Read and write: learn best through words. You may take copious notes in class and enjoy reading class texts. 

  • write and rewrite your words and notes
  • reword main ideas to get a deeper understanding of the principles
  • organize visual images (charts, graphs, diagrams) into statements

4. Kinesthetic: also known as hands-on learners, learn best by figuring out concepts by hand. For example, learning how a clock works by putting one together. 

  • use real life examples, applications, and case studies to help with abstract concepts
  • redo lab experiments or projects
  • use pictures or photographs that illustrate your ideas

 

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