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Study Skills: Preparing For And Taking Tests

927 words - 4 pages

What separates a mediocre 2.5 grade point average (GPA) college student from one who is always on the dean’s list and receiving accolades from various academic circles for his or her achievements? It is not necessarily that that the straight “A” student is smarter than the other; it could be that the dean’s list scholar has mastered the science behind exam taking. While there is no “one size fits all” approach to performing well on exams, there are recipes for success that have been proven to give an edge to those who utilize them. The purpose of this essay is to give the struggling college student a few more tools in their college toolbox to help them ace their next college exam. A solid strategy is key to performing well on exams.
So you’ve sat through the lectures, taken notes, maybe even participated in a few study groups. Now the time is fast approaching and that big exam is right around the corner. Are you prepared for it? Unless you have a concrete approach, the answer is most likely no. A study done in 2006 showed that poor study skills were directly related to low grades Proctor, Prevatt, Adams, Reaser & Petscher (2006). This does not mean that these students did not study, but rather did not have any kind of a strategy. Dr. John Grohol, the founder and CEO of Psych Central offers the following suggestions Grohol, J (2006). Develop a study plan. Take breaks regularly and treat yourself to a reward. Grohol writes “find a reward that is small but real…by setting limits on your behavior, your actually teaching yourself discipline, which will be a handy skill to have throughout life”. Set time aside every day that you devote solely to studying. Make it something that you can actually stick to, say 30-60 minutes every day you have a class instead of cramming all the material into one long session. One has to hone and develop good study habits in order to be successful. Something as simple as taking good notes can be invaluable.
The key to good note taking is to keep it simple. According to Jacobs and Hymen (2013) there is no real benefit to using complicated note taking “systems” such as Mind Mapping or the Cornell Note-taking system. These systems will only slow you down and take away from the actual “meat” of the important points. Simply numbering the professors points and maybe adding a few subordinate points in there as well to show how they relate to the main topic will pay off on an exam. Often during a lecture a professor will repeat something or you may hear a certain topic or point discussed or mentioned several times. Pay attention to that! It is most likely going to be something you will see again on an exam. Different types of exams call for different plans of attack. A multiple...

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