Test Prep Made Simple

Rebecca Shinners is a CCD-ERC Student Ambassador.

It’s that time of the semester—your notebooks are rapidly filling up, the red due dates you marked on your calendar are getting closer, and your textbooks have turned colors from all of your highlighting. Sound familiar? The first tests of the semester are approaching.

After 3 long months of summer and only one way-too-short month back at school, some of us have yet to escape the lack of motivation that comes with “summer mode.” The first test after summer is always the scariest, but there’s no need to be intimidated.

Get back into test mode with these tips:

1. Make sure your workspace is neat and organized.

Whether you’re the type of person who spends your nights in Mugar, or  work in your off-campus apartment, it’s important to have a neat workspace you know you can rely on. Clutter can cause stress, so if you’re working in your room, keep your desk organized and free of distractions.

2. Be aware of due dates.

I always mark my tests and papers on my calendar in purple pen. That way, they stand out and I always know when I have a test coming up, so I can prepare by studying in advance. If you haven’t yet done so, take out your class syllabi and mark down test and due dates for the rest of the semester now. Then, you’ll be able to see what days you’re free to volunteer with a club you’re in, or go apple picking with your friends. Build your social and extracurricular engagements around your class commitments.

3. Know the test format.

When studying for a test, it’s important to know not only the content, but also the format that you’re studying for. Is your test multiple choice? Short answer? Essay? A mix? Additionally, if it’s a take home test, know when your teacher is giving it out, so you can decide how much time you’re going to have to work on it.

4. Know your weaknesses.

What content didn’t you understand in the readings or during class? Make note, and focus on studying that material first. Was there a reading you missed? Make it up while you study!

5. Utilize office hours.

Going to your teacher’s office hours is a great way to get to know your professor and hear helpful tips for the test. Even if you don’t have a specific question, ask your teacher what content he or she considers most important. Your teacher will appreciate your initiative.

6. Stay positive.

If you’ve given yourself time to study, you’re as ready as you can be to tackle your first test of the semester! Keep your head clear of negative thoughts, get a full night of sleep, and go into the test ready to do your best. Avoid classmates who will be in “panic mode” and frantically studying at the last minute.

Feeling more prepared for your midterms yet? Learn tips like these and more at the Educational Resource Center’s Midterm Mashup event at 100 Bay State Road from Monday, 9/30 through Thursday, 10/3.

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