How to study/prepare for a test more intensely and effectively?

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I know it's old fashioned, but I always suggest flash cards. Sometimes the tried and true is the best. I can't tell you how many times I have seen students studying ineffectively, just reading material over and over or writing random notes. Flash cards force you to be honest with yourself about what you do and do not know. They are great for memorizing.
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In order to be efficient in your studying habits, you will need to identify how you learn best. For example, do you learn best with note cards or by reviewing your notes? Some people learn better by trying to connect facts to a subject of more personal interest. There are many studying techniques out there, but to be effective you will need to understand your personal learning style. Aside from the actual study techniques themselves, be sure you are selecting an appropriate state to study in. There is a concept in psychology called state dependent memory. It means that we recall information best when we are in the same state as we were when we learned it. For instance, if you have a cup of coffee while you study, then you should have a cup of coffee before your test. Be sure that the state you are in when study can easily be replicated during the test. It's often best to study in a quiet place without music or other distraction because this is how the exam environment will be.
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