’tis the season…for tests!

This time of year the academic load typically ramps up, with teachers trying to squeeze in tests before school vacations, and often with exam periods coming up in December or January. Here are a few basic test preparation strategies to help you through:

• Plan ahead! Spend an extra 10-15 minutes per night reviewing class notes and reading through course materials. Last-minute cramming does little to help you remember material.

• Be prepared! Make sure you ask what material will be on the test and what the test format will be (i.e. essay, multiple choice, short answer), and collect all of your notes, handouts, and reading materials so they are in one place before you begin studying.

• Mix it up! Use different methods to learn the material. Flash cards are an obvious option but some apps and online programs can make memorizing more fun. You can also write out the information, make a song or rap, or draw pictures to help you remember the material. Studying with a friend or in a group can be beneficial too.

• Take breaks! Make sure you schedule breaks into your study sessions, once an hour or so, or more frequently if you are having trouble staying focused. During the breaks try to get active. A little movement such as jumping jacks, or even hanging upside down off a couch for a minute, will get the blood flowing into your brain and will improve concentration and memory.

• Have perspective! A disappointing score is not the end of the world. Make sure to meet with your teacher to find out how you can improve next time.