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Study For Next Test

Study Group
Study Groups are a great way to motivate yourself to study for a test if you know you have procrastination tendencies. (And who doesn’t?) Start a study group to review information before your test. Dole out the information you need to know in chances to each person. Now that person is responsible for learning that chance of information inside and out. The next time the study group meets, each person has to teach their information to the group and answer any questions. If you know you have to teach this material, then there is high motivation to really master the material yourself. The internal pressure of belonging to a study group the whole year will keep you on track in a way that you might not be able to if left to your own devices.

Know Your Limits
You have been there, cramming material the night before, not sure if anything is really getting inside your mind. Everything gets blurry and you realize that you have been on an imaginary tropical island the past 40 minutes. Time to get up! The brain can only focus on information for so long, about 45 minutes of concentration at a time. After 45 minutes you need to get some fresh oxygen to the brain. Take a short walk, do some sit ups, stretch your arms or some other kind of physical activity that will pump your blood around faster than sitting still in a chair. Sometimes you get the best ideas and insights while you focus your mind on something else.

Use What You Already Know
The brain learns new information best by attaching the new material to already mastered information. For example, before you mastered the menu at Starbucks you had to learn what basic coffee tasted like. Once you knew that, then you could add cream, milk, soy milk and discovered what you liked best. Then you learned what sweetener you wanted to add, but you had to learn about raw sugar, honey, artificial sweeteners, not to mention the whole world of flavored syrups. So, your brain mastered all of that information by adding bits at a time, adding the unfamiliar to the familiar.

Any other information is added in the same process. Think about what you already know about a topic, start will that and then add the new information to already mastered knowledge. If you were learning information about World War II, then think about what you already know about conflicts or artillery or leadership. Use what you already know and your mind will absorb the information faster and in a more effective way.

Ask For Help When You Need It
Okay, I know this is obvious, but there are so many stubborn people out there who don’t ask for help when they need it, so I had to add this tip. Listen, you need to ask for help when you need it! Use email or you could take the old school approach and meet face to face. People are more apt to help someone they can see, so make yourself visible. Every professor or teacher has office hours. Look them up. Make an appointment and show up.