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20 Minute Test Prep

This strategy for test preparation is included here because it should begin on the first day of class! The more you review new information over time the less stressful preparation will be when the test is imminent. Think about how an athlete practices over time so when game-time approaches the athlete is confident and eager. This is training - for your brain. The table below shows how do it:

When to do It
What to do Tips
After each class
Spend approximately 20 minutes reviewing that day’s material. As you review, create study aids e.g. study sheets, flash cards, outlines, summaries. When you have no time between classes, review at the end of the day. Keep your study aids with you so you can review them during spare moments. If the major source of information in your course is in the readings then, create your study aids as you read and review them for 20 minutes after you complete the reading. If you have back-to-back classes, get to the next class and do the review before the professor begins. A small amount of time for review is better than not at all.
At the end of each week
Spend approximately10 minutes reviewing the week’s work in each course. Then spend 10 minutes anticipating 5-10 test questions you think your professor will ask on the test covering that material. Later, answer your questions. After you write your first set of questions show them to your professor during an office hour. Clarifying your questions will make sure you are focusing on the same material your professor wants you to learn.
One to two weeks before the exam
Create a topic outline from your test questions or syllabus. Then, review one topic at a time. If the professor hands out a review sheet that is just a list of topics then use it to create a topic outline and note the ones emphasized. Match the test questions you created to the topics on the sheet and answer them. If the review sheet is in the form of questions then answer them completely. If you are given a list of terms to learn then create a study sheet that has 3 columns: term, definition, and example. As you review fill in each column.


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