The Missouri Miner

Missouri S&T's Student Newspaper
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EST. 1915

Miner Advice - How to Study for an Exam

Question

“Dear Josephine Miner,

The results from my first round of exams came back and they did not go well. Do you have any advice on how to study for exams? I really need to do better on my second round of tests.

Sincerely, Austin”

Answer

Dear Austin,

Learning how to study for a test is harder than most students think. Different styles of exams should be studied for in different ways. For multiple choice exams, practice sample questions from past homework or exams, try to answer the question before looking at the answers, and guess b or c in a pinch (most professors want to “hide the answer” and won’t put it as the first or the last choice). For analytical short answer exams (physics or math exams) redo all relevant homework, read the directions carefully, write neatly to avoid simple mathematical errors, and don’t spend too much time on one question and have to rush through the rest of the questions or not even have time to answer them at all (partial credit is better than a blank problem).

Memorization exams should be studied in a different way. When memorizing the material, teach the subject to someone else, make mental associations for hard to remember topics, create flash cards or a quizlet, and study in multiple short bursts throughout the day. Many students don’t think it is necessary to study for open book and/or open note exams, but that is completely incorrect. Students should still review the test material, including notes, quizzes, homework, and in class examples, redo all significant problems, and organize/flag relevant pages in the book and/or notebook for easier accessibility when testing (this is also another review of material).

The following tips are applicable for any test a student can find here at Missouri S&T and have been proven to help students improve test scores. First, get a good night's sleep. Most students try to cram the night before the test, but a sleep deprived tester does not think as clearly as a well-rested brain. Along with that, eat a normal breakfast. Most people don’t eat or eat a big breakfast when it comes to a test, but it is recommended to follow a normal routine. Not eating or eating more than normal will leave the body feeling different than it usually does during that time of day.

Another tip is to start studying multiple days in advance. Too many students start studying the night before (leading to long nights and cram sessions) and realize too late there isn’t enough time to learn all of the material and don’t have time to ask questions over confusing topics. Starting to study three days before the exam gives a student the time to ask questions to peers and the professors over topics of confusion and the option to space studying material over multiple days reducing the chance of a late night and making study sessions less stressful.

Best of luck to all students on the second round of exams quickly approaching here on campus! Readers in need of advice please email any questions to miner@mst.edu.

Sincerely, Josephine Miner

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