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Week 8, Fall 2023: Test Taking Strategies

ACE Study Tip of the Week

Every Day:

Spend a few minutes going over daily notes

  • Use a two-column system for taking notes (Cornell)
  • Constantly paraphrase as you read: “Oh, I see, she’s saying ___.”
  • Stop at paragraph or section ends - highlight or write a brief note.
  • Focus on charts, diagrams, and outlines, especially in the sciences.
  • If textbooks are difficult, buy a review book or look online for a summary of the material.
  • Space out study sessions. You learn more when studying a topic for a short period on three separate occasions rather than studying for a longer period just once.

Don’t Just Memorize:

  • Paraphrase ideas and relate one idea to another
  • Study with others
  • Focus on examples, as they help to comprehend complex ideas
  • Visualize information if you can
  • Actively look for areas of confusion. Talk with professors and T.A.’s after class.

Decide What to Learn:

  • Narrow your focus. When trying to learn everything it can be too much.
  • Ask yourself what you would test if you were the professor.
  • Pay close attention to: study guides, review sessions, topics mentioned in the class before exams, material written on the board or overhead.
  • Ask other students what they think will be on the exam. Talk to the professor.

Review Tools:

  • Develop summary sheets, charts, or diagrams to help review. Be brief.
  • Use flashcards sparingly.

Good luck,

Audrey Zenner
Academic Center for Excellence (ACE)