» A Typical Test Preparation Session

KEY IDEA: “Study” means doing activities like the ones you will have to do during the test.

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Learning by Preparing Test Materials

  1. First find and put into one pile all the material you will be tested on (e.g. lecture notes, charts, questions/answers, books, articles, handouts, study guides, etc.)
  2. Keep asking questions and searching until you know for certain that you have all the material in front of you.
  3. Find out what type of test is to be given.  Usually more detail has to be learned for objective tests.  Essay tests usually require you to think with ideas you have been given in class.
  4. Make cognitive maps to see the topics and main ideas.  Also, to see the topics and their major supports.
  5. Make flash cards on technical terms and main ideas you need to know.  Main ideas, terms, and topics are often called by other names such as:




Law, Theory, or Hypothesis

Names of Important Persons/Places


Controversial Issues

Exceptions to Rules

Opinions held by Various Authorities




  1. NOTE: When looking for supporting details, locate information that explains who, what, where, when, why, and how of the topic.  Put this material on flash cards too.
  2. Make your own test.  Predict exam questions that you think will be on the test.  Take the role of the instructor – what would you test on if you were that person?
  3. Develop memory cue devices to help you remember lists of dates, names, etc.
  4. Attend any exam reviews that tutor or the instructor schedule.

Learning by Practicing with the Test

  1. Use the flash cards to memorize all material that you will have to recall during the test.  Recall means that if you are given a cue you will remember a word or idea.  Carry the flash cards with you and run through them in spare moments (i.e. between classes).
  2. Test yourself on the materials using the questions you predicted.  Take the test under the same conditions as you will take the actual test.
  3. Have a friend test you using your flash cards, your questions and answers from the text, or the exam questions you predicted.
  4. Post visual cue cards around your room, so that you will come into contact with the material.
  5. Use the tape recorder to give yourself questions or to hear material over and over until it sinks in.  Speak along with the tape recorder until you can say it without help.
  6. Meet with other students in your class.  Take turns explaining ideas to each other.  Have them ask questions as if they didn’t know anything, while you explain the idea to them as if it is brand new.