How to study right for every subject

Finals and end-of-year tests are coming up fast. Here’s our lickety-split guide to acing every subject. With these seven tips in hand, we bet you’ll be seeing straight-A’s by the time the final bell rings. Hello, smarty pants!


Get organized

Rooting through the recycling bin at the bottom of your locker 10 minutes before your final is so not the way to go. It’s a stress-inducing time-waster that will only cause you heartache. OK, maybe not heartache, but seriously, getting your stuff together a few weeks before test time will help keep you sane. Get to school early or stay late to give your locker and backpack a major cleaning. If you think there’s a chance you might need a certain worksheet, discarded problem set or old pop quiz to help ya gear up for the exam, do yourself a favor and keep it. But don’t just keep it. Put it in your notebook or folder and organize the rest of your papers either chronologically or thematically.


Be your own best study buddy

There are probably as many different studying techniques as people in your chem class. Find the one that works best for you by trial and error. Flashcards, quizzing with friends, retaking old tests, rereading textbook chapters, rewriting your notes, working with a tutor, making up mnemonics and songs—all of these are totally valid ways to get your test material down pat.


Practice makes perfect

If your test involves something that you’re going to have to do or explain, then it makes sense to actually do or explain that thing before you’re going to be graded on it, right? Whether you have a Spanish oral conversation, a presentation or a proof to solve, get to work on nailing it in front of an audience or solo before the big day. And remember, sometimes life throws you a curve ball, so it’s important to understand the concepts that go into your test Qs—like verb conjugations, why a current event matters or how to apply a math theorem to a different problem.


Focus on your problem areas

If you have a limited amount of prep time and a lot of things to get through, this one is especially important. Give the stuff you’re pretty clear on a quick—and we mean lightning-fast—refresher, then get to work on the harder material. Not sure how to tell where your problem areas are? Here are two approaches: Go back to the beginning of the course and review early stuff that isn’t fresh in your mind anymore. Or, flip through old homework assignments, quizzes and tests and highlight the Qs you got wrong, then focus on those.


Get help ASAP

Still not getting it solo? Grab Teach, a tutor or a whiz kid friend and ask them for help. And do yourself a favor and don’t put this off ‘til the last minute. Everyone involved, including you, will appreciate the notice and the sincere effort you’re putting in to really learning a certain concept or subject. Bonus? Write out a sweet thank-you note and deliver with a homemade treat after your test.


Know the format

True or false. Matching. Multiple choice. Fill in the blank. Short answer. Essay. Ah, the types of questions we know by heart. Be sure to ask your teacher to fill ya in on what kinds of questions will be on test. Then, study accordingly. For matching, you might need to know a lot of names or dates. For true or false, comprehension and vocab words might be essential. For short answers, you’ll need to be able to explain concepts.


Play by the rules

This one is obvious, but sometimes it’s overlooked in the rush to memorize everything ASAP. Is your test open note? Can you bring a calculator? Can you bring a note card “cheat sheet”? Ask your teacher what sort of tools you’ll be allowed to use—or not—so you can be as prepared as possible.


Tell us, babes: What’s your secret to scoring a stellar grade?


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by Brittany Taylor | 2/1/2016