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5 Tips on How to Ace Your Next Big Test

Have you ever been stuck in the cycle of studying two days before a big test and getting the same scores over and over again? Let's be honest, we all have at some point! Here are some of the best tips from top high school students to make sure you don't stay stuck in this cycle.

Study 2 weeks before the exam.

Instead of studying a week, or even just a few days before your big test, split up your studying into small parts. This will give your brain more time to encode and memorize information, as well as decrease the anxiety before tests that often leads to lower scores.

Focus on Active learning strategies.

Studying through techniques such as brain dumps, verbal explanations, teaching the material, making diagrams, using memory tricks, and spaced repetition helps you memorize the content in the long term, which will help you throughout the year. This is much better than passive learning strategies such as reading, highlighting, reviewing notes, or watching videos because they will test and retrieve your knowledge.

Sleep more consistently 2 days before exams.

Try to get all your studying done before the day before the exam. While it's important to get plenty of sleep the day before the exam, it is just as important to get as much sleep 2 days before the exam. Give it a try! Letting your brain get consistent and plentiful sleep (7+ hours) will help you feel well-rested, and prepared as a result. Do not make the mistake of staying up late to study the day before the test!

Do not overstudy.

It's hard to determine how many hours you need to study before you feel ready. The truth is, that you will never feel ready. I used to study for hours on end days before a test, but this year, I studied less and got better grades! Using active learning techniques that help you memorize information faster, studying a little each day, not cramming, and focusing on practice rather than review will help you determine how much you need to study.

Improve your confidence!

Stress and anxiety influence you on test-taking day just as much as your studying does. Write some positive affirmations on a flash card to read to yourself before an exam. Walk into the room with confidence and a calm mind. This tip is often the number one game changer for students!


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