| Magazine Feature |

Testing, Testing, 1,2,3

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Midterms: that beautiful word we associate with hours of study and a fair dosage of anxiety. We all study hard and want to do well, so it’s understandable that this time of year comes along with stress. Good news: Here’s a cheat sheet to help you do your very best. What could be better than tips and tricks from those in the trenches? Teachers and students tell it like it is.

 A Smart Space

Everyone studies differently. Think about which study environment works best for you.

  • Do you study better in pairs, groups, or alone? While some study better with others, studying in groups or pairs is not for everyone. Hint: If you’re the type who tends to schmooze rather than study, learning with a friend may not be the best idea.
  • At what noise level do you perform best? Do you work better in complete silence or while humming along to some soft background music?
  • Where do you study best? Your bedroom, at the kitchen table — not too far from the trusty refrigerator — or in an open, grassy area?
  • What time do you study best? At night or early in the morning? Schedule in quality study time during the hours that work best for you.

“Studies show that rewriting important parts of your notes helps store the information into long-term memory”, says high school teacher Mrs. Michal Neuman*. It’s a great idea to rewrite some of your notes onto neat little flashcards. Flashcards are also helpful when you can snatch five minutes for a quick review.

 Read Aloud

According to a 2010 article, “Say It Loud: I’m Creating a Distinctive Memory,” by psychologist and writer Art Markman, reading information aloud helps you remember it better, since it helps store the information in both the visual and auditory parts of your brain.

Create Hints

Remembering details like dates, places, and names can be a drag, but coming up with hints that create associations in our minds help us remember those details. “I like to create stories that work as hints for my students,” says Mrs. Rochel Zweibel*, a tutor for high school students. “For example, when one of my students had to memorize the map of Europe, we created a short story for every country. It worked wonders!” Memorizing information in song form is also a very effective method for memorizing details.

Understanding is Key

“If you learn a rule for a math test, and you have no idea why you’re applying it, it’s so easy to forget the rule and then get stuck,” says Mrs. Zweibel. While it’s hard to remember details that sound like gobbledygook, we do remember concepts that we understand. As you’re rereading your notes, makes sure that you actually understand what’s being read. Not getting it on your own? Take a few minutes out of study time and ask someone who does.

(Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 744)

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