How to Study: Effective Study Skills

How to study for a test or exam? Developing effective study skills can help reduce test anxiety. The following study tips will help you be well-prepared for an upcoming test or exam.

Find a quiet, well-lit study space. Make sure that you have all the materials you need to study at hand (e.g. notepad, pens, etc.). Avoid distractors, such as cellphones or television.

Create a study checklist and a study plan. List all the material you need to study (e.g. read textbook, review notes, etc.). In a weekly or monthly schedule, block time that you will allocate to studying: be specific regarding the subject and what you are planning to do (e.g. Monday 12-2 read and highlight Biology notes). Ensure that you add all of your exams, assignment due dates and other appointments to the same calendar; this way you can see at a glance whether your schedule is feasible. It is important to schedule breaks during your study sessions (e.g. after every 45 minutes). Review your study calendar at the end of each week and adjust as necessary.

Review all materials, handouts, notes syllabus, textbooks, etc. Make notes as you go along. Draw diagrams to see how terms and ideas compare. When you come across material that is confusing, look it up and make a note. You might also find that creating and reviewing cue cards is useful. If you find that your mind wonders while you are trying to study, read information aloud, switch to another study task (e.g. from reading a textbook to drawing a diagram), or take a brief break.

Organize a study group of two to four people. Create a schedule for the content of each study group session. You might find that teaching each other specific topics or creating sample exam questions might help you understand the material better.

Ask for help. You might find it helpful to ask your teacher/instructor to clarify material as well as what to anticipate on the test.

If you have long-standing learning difficulties, undergoing a Psychoeducational Assessment will help to determine what is the best way for you to study and whether you need any academic accommodations.

Good luck!