Assessments such as quizzes and exams help educators recognize areas where students are excelling and where they might need a little extra help. In addition to tests in the classroom, high schoolers generally take standardized testing for provincial assessment purposes.
Testing may come easier to some students than others, but having solid study techniques can improve students’ performance on a wide range of exams. In fact, research by Stanford scholars, whose data was published in Psychological Science, found that applying a strategic approach to studying helped college students improve their exam scores by an average of one-third of a letter grade.
The testing preparation resource PrepScholar says it is important to build and maintain strong study habits to help students avoid undue stress and last-minute cramming. The following are seven techniques that may help foster good study skills.
- Find value in the lessons.
Many students lament that what they learn in school just isn’t relevant in daily life. That can make the subject matter feel less important and uninteresting. Finding value in what one is learning and seeing how it can be applied outside of the classroom may make a student more inclined to learn and retain information.
- Avoid distractions.
Study time is time to take a break from social media, video games and any other distractions that can pull a student away from studying. Constantly checking notifications can interrupt thoughts and make it hard to learn the material.
- Establish a study schedule.
Develop a system and a schedule for studying. Students should establish a fixed habit of studying each day or week — whatever is best for him or her. Over time, studying will become routine.
- Establish dedicated study spots.
Students should locate places that work best for them as study and homework stations. Certain individuals may need the quiet of a library or a bookstore. Others may do best with the hum of conversation around them or in a group. There’s no right or wrong study spot. Maintaining consistency will help the mind associate a place with studying.
- Use grades as benchmarks and motivators.
Blaming a teacher for a poor grade won’t get a student anywhere. Rather, grades should indicate how well one is learning the material, and in turn, the effectiveness of students’ studying habits. Students can tweak their habits if they find their grades are not where they want them to be.
- Rephrase material.
Textbook language can be dry and unappealing. Students can try putting the material into their own words or rephrase passages to make them easier to remember and recall. Similarly, teaching or sharing the material with another person also may improve retention.
- Make a formula sheet.
Depending on the subject, having a sheet with shortcuts, formulas or diagrams can put the material into smaller bursts of information that are easier to digest. Along this same vein, writing information down can help improve recall.