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Top Study Strategies to Ensure High Test Scores

Janelle Cox


Oftentimes middle and high school students say they have studied for a test, when in truth all they did was skim through the material.

In order for students to be successful on exams, they have to put forth the time and effort into studying for them. Test-taking is a skill, and not all students are good at it. It's important for educators to give students the study skills and strategies they need to successfully master their exams, and raise their grades.

The following is a list of study techniques and strategies students can use to ensure their academic success in school.

1.     Have students read and re-read material a few times to focus on any information that they have missed the first time. This "review time" also allows the student to comprehend the information better.

2.     Students should highlight the information they know or think will be on the test using different colored highlighters. For example, highlight all definitions in blue; highlight all key words in yellow, and so on. This is for the sole purpose of reviewing.

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3.     Students should look up any vocabulary words that they are unfamiliar with. They can use their smartphone, tablet, the Internet, or a good old dictionary to find out the meaning of the word.

4.     When reading a textbook, write down all of the boldfaced words and their definition on flashcards for study purposes.

5.     To help enhance memory, have students review their notes taken in class for about ten minutes each day.

6.     Each students' learning style is different, therefore students should review testable material to suit his/her learning style; iPad, internet, movies, books, smartphone, etc.

7.     Research proves that chewing gum while studying will increase a student’s focus.

8.     When completing a study guide, students should check off each task asked of them to make sure that each step has been completed.

9.     To make reviewing for a test a little bit exciting, use flashcards to play games, or study with a peer.

10.  Students should do all assigned homework; doing so will help students' master skills. It also provides reinforcement of concepts that will be on test.

11.  Study testable information in a variety of ways; orally, through games, in written form, through technology, or by drawing.

12.  It's important to take study breaks for at least ten minutes until study time is complete. Research shows it's important to give your mind a break.

13.  Encourage students to study in a group or with a friend. This may help them with information they may not know or have forgotten.

14.  If there is a movie adaptation of a novel students are getting tested on, have them watch it to help reinforce any missed or unknown information.

15.  If students are having a hard time understanding something that will be on the test, encourage them to take notes after each paragraph (or concept they do not understand) until they get it.

16.  To help organize and retain details have students create a graphic organizer.

17.  Memorize six to ten facts at time, no more and no less.

18.  To help increase understanding of math formulas and concepts, have students write down each step.

19.  Make sure students study each day and not wait until the day before a test. This will ensure that concepts will be mastered for the test.

20.  Students should write notes in the margins of books or materials for study purposes. Then they can look back at review time.

21.  Encourage students to study in a quiet area and block out everything around them.

22.  Listening to soft music can make study time more effective and is said to increase brain flow.

23.  Have students self-talk and reinforce that what they are learning in valuable information.

24.  Encourage students to complete a practice test, or create their own version of what they think will be on the exam.

25.  Remind students that reading everyday will increase their knowledge and intellect.

Source: “Don’t Count Me Out! A Guide to Better Grades and Test Scores” by Barbara Dianis.

Do you have any study tips or techniques to help students succeed in school? Please share them in the comment section below.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who draws on her 15 years of professional experience in the education system. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Guide to Elementary Education for, where she provides educational information and lesson plans for teachers across the United States.