How to study for a test

April 21, 2010  |  Observations, Productivity, Study Hacks

The hardest part of studying for a test is probably the distribution of your time. When are you going to study? Are you going to start early, start late? I have drawn three curves. You can see how talented I am with paint. On the X-axis there is the time. On the y-axis here is the amount of studying you do.

How to study for a test

Curve A
Normally, students tend to fall in curve A. Only study when it is needed. Two weeks ahead of the test they understand they have to start to study, so they start. Study a little bit more over time, until your exam, then stop. Stop studying for a while and build up the amount of studying you do again. Does this works? To get good grades, yes. But to understand the material completely and be fully prepared? Probably not. And another bad thing about this curve is the cortisol level in your blood. When you are studying in this curve, you will have a lot of stress right before the test. You have to do a lot, you freak out about the amount of work you have to do, and you want to party your stress away after the test.

Curve B
This curve is how teachers tell you to study. Do a lot of work all the time, start studying extra hard right before the test and have a little bit of free time after the test. Then you have to study with the same amount of work again for a couple of weeks. This way is proven to be right, but let’s be honest: It’s not very fun. It’s boring and you will have to work hard almost all the time. Works great, but again, it won’t work to people who have going on more in their life. This is the way as Scott H Young described in my ebook

Curve C
This curve is how athletes train, they train and they train until they train very hard and then they reduce their amount of training right before the big game. This is called tapering. This gives the sport guy a chance to peak at the point they need to peak. The rest right before the game will make him extra alert, his muscles extra strong and he will get the most out of his training. What if we do this at the university? What if we stop being either unsuccessful with curve A or bored with curve B and start being more like a sport guy. We need to peak at the test right? Why don’t we give our brains the chance to get some rest, to have a peak.

These three curves stand for different types of studying before a test. We are in curve A, according to our teachers we should be in curve B, but shouldn’t we be in curve C? Think with me please, in which curve should we be? How do we have to study for a test? After I showed these curves to a friend he came up with the perfect curve, which I will explain next week!

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About the author

Stefan Knapen is the founder and big boss of StudySuccessful.com. As a 23 year old med student he is trying to become more productive, more successful and more awesome overall in life. Stefan loves coffee, but tea as well. He is currently busy building niche sites and start to create a full-time passive (student) income on the internet!



2 Comments


  1. I like your writing style and you provide useful information. I’m glad I found your site!
    Laura´s last blog post ..Free Online Courses- Lecture Notes- and Tutorials

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