How to study? I really need help on learning how to study. I always study hard then I go take a test and fail it. It feels like such a huge failure too because I had spent hours studying and my grade doesn't show that!! How do you take good history notes and study for a history test? That's my major struggle at the moment. Also how do you not freak out before a test? A lot of the time (not always) I will go take a test i studied hard for and right before i take it my mind blanks. Can someone please help me out here? I try so hard and my effort is not shown. I'm tired of my teachers saying I don't try when really i do!!!

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This is what I give my English students as a starting point. It's not strictly teacher-speak, sorry!

  1. Use a highlighter to highlight important notes. Try not to use the flouro yellow, it gets a bit hard on the eyes after a while and pages start swimming at night.
  2. Rewrite notes...

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This is what I give my English students as a starting point. It's not strictly teacher-speak, sorry!

  1. Use a highlighter to highlight important notes. Try not to use the flouro yellow, it gets a bit hard on the eyes after a while and pages start swimming at night.
  2. Rewrite notes into another form...I find charts helpful.
  3. Colour coding is not just for geeks...okay, yes it is but why do you think they are geeks??? Use post its, highlighters, markers and pens to keep like areas together. For example all your character notes could be in bright pink...pink post its, highlighters, pens...the fun could never end!
  4. Put notes up where you can see them...the back of the toilet door could be a good start. What? You are sitting there for 10 minutes, what else are you going to do?
  5. Make flash cards for terms and formulas that you have to remember and get Mum, Dad, Grandma, Great Aunt Flo, whoever to test you.
  6. You should be looking at approximately three hours (yes, I said hours, not minutes) a night.
  7. If you are going to listen to music while you are studying, Nelly and Tupac are not good options...well, EVER actually. Have something quiet and soothing in the background. Blasting directly into your ears is not a brilliant option.
  8. Old exam papers for practise are stunning. They are even more stunning if you take them into your teacher for marking and feedback. Try to get them done under the time constraints that will apply to the actual exam.
  9. Learn how to deconstruct questions. Sometimes things look impossible to start, until you break them down and see exactly what you are being asked to do.
  10. Keep summarising your notes down so that just before you enter an exam you have one page of notes for each topic.
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If you are reading in the textbook, a good technique is to stop at the end of every paragraph and ask yourself "OK, what did that say, exactly?" Then answer the question out loud or write the answer down in your own words. If you can't do it, then you aren't really reading, you are just moving your eyes over the words. If you can do it, then do the next paragraph, and so on.

At the end of every page, ask an additional question - if you were writing the test, what on that page would you ask about? How would you ask it?

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One thing that helped me immensely in college was studying with a partner. We would discuss facts and debate opinions, and once in a while we'd make up fake tests for each other. Depending on the teacher I often got more out of our study sessions after class than from class itself. Besides, it's always good to bounce ideas off someone: if they agree, great! If not, it's a point of debate and discussion.

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It sounds like part of your problem is anxiety.  You can counter that by taking several deep breathes and relaxing before a test.  Don't cram before a test.  As far as studying, make flash cards to memorize information.  You cannot just read a word and its definiton over and over.  The real method of studying flash cards, using them to test yourself, is very effective.

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I would suggest that you think about HOW you study.  If you are merely re-reading your textbook and your notes you are only engaging your brain one way, and it is a rather passive act.  It might be better to DO something -- create flash cards for example.  The act of writing the flash cards engages your brain through the reading and summarizing the material as well as writing the ideas down in a new form.  Once the cards are done you can use them to quiz yourself on the material.  Flash cards work great for memorizing facts and definitions, but can be used for bigger ideas as well.

Another thing you can DO is write new outlines for material you are studying. By actively trying to discern the most essential information from the text for your outline you are being critical about what you are reading, not just letting the words pass in front of your eyes.   Your outline would help you try to chunk like-information together which also helps your brain store the information more logically for recall.

Hope these ideas help!

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Do you actually fail the tests?  Because if not, you can look back on your previous successes to help you realize that it's not as bad as you think it is.

As a history teacher, my suggestion is to try to do things with the notes you take rather than simply trying to memorize them.  Ask yourself broad questions about the notes (sometimes the book will have these, often called discussion questions) and then try to write answers or at least jot down notes as to what would go in such an answer.

So, for example, instead of trying to memorize the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts and all of that, ask yourself if the colonists were justified in rebelling.  Then look through your notes for relevant facts.  When you use your notes in that way, you'll have a better chance of remembering them than if you simply try to memorize the facts.

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What I found that worked for me was to take notes during class. When I got home after school I would type out the notes I had taken for the day. The notes I took would be key terms, ideas, or dates. When typing, I would use my notes and book to look at the information deeper.

Another thing to do is look at your notes every day. That way the information is embedded. Studying the night before really does not help to learn the information. You are simply recalling--memorization only for the test.

As for freaking out before a test, if you have gone over the information for multiple nights, the information will be there. Breathing exercises will help with the anxiety as well.

Another thing you can do is find something to hold while studying--an eraser, a pen cap, something you can hold during the test. You can use it like a stress ball.

There have been studies which have shown that studying in the same position which you will be tested in (like at a desk or table) raises scores. Other studies have looked at wearing the same clothes and being in the same mood taking the test as you did when you studied.

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