More than any other technique, the key to performing
well on exams is starting early and using short, frequent study
sessions. The human brain learns academic material faster and
better on an exam if done in brief blocks of time spread out over
longer periods of time, rather than in a few lengthy sessions. For
example, you will perform better on an exam if you spend one hour
studying each day for 20 days than if you spend 10 hours studying
each day for two days before an exam.
If you have to cram, try to focus on remembering
the information you do know rather than trying to teach yourself
new information. You will typically not remember what you tried to
learn the night before the exam, anyway, so it is best to make sure
you REALLY know some part of the information for the test. If you
do have a few days, try to spread the studying out so you are not
doing it all in one night.
If you plan ahead, many students have found the Five Day Study
Plan gets good results. Keys to the Five Day Plan:
1. You space out your learning over a period of 5 days.
2. During each day, you prepare a new chapter or chunk of
information, then review previous material.
3. Divide material so you can work on it in chunks.
4. Use active learning strategies (writing and reciting) to study
5. Use self-testing techniques to monitor your learning
Eight to ten hours of studying may be required to get an A or a B on
an exam. This is just a general guideline. You may need to allot
more or less time depending on the difficulty of the class.
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