When it comes to taking tests, everyone has a different way of preparing that works best for them. Some people spend weeks studying and some people hold a massive cram session the night before the test. It’s important to try different things to figure out what will work best for you, so here are five things that you may not have thought of that you can try to help you with your next test.
Take Plenty of Breaks
It’s tempting to sit down and study for hours or try to cram everything in at once. But no matter how dedicated you are and how great your memory is, your brain can only handle so much information at a time. To help you absorb the information better, take regular breaks from your studies. Get up, walk around, and clear your head. This won’t make you forget what you have studied, but it will help you refresh your mind and move the knowledge out of your short-term memory and into your long-term memory.
Chew a Unique Flavor of Gum or Candy
Human memory is tied most strongly to the sense of smell. An easy trick to remember what you’re studying is to choose an unusual flavor of candy or gum to eat while you are studying. When you go to take the test, have some of that gum or candy on hand to eat and jog your memory of your studies. This will take a little time to work, so start doing it a couple days before your test. If candy or gum won’t work for you, try using a perfume or essential oil that you can also use in the classroom.
Choose an Instrumental Music Playlist
Music is a powerful tool for helping your brain learn and retain knowledge, but not all music is created equally. You may love fast pump-up music, but that isn’t going to help you settle into a studying mood, and it isn’t going to help you remember anything. Research has found that music without lyrics, that includes nature sounds, and that you like but aren’t obsessed with is the best kind of music to listen to when you are trying to focus. You also want to make sure that you aren’t playing your music too loudly. Experiment with a few different kinds of music to figure out what works best for you and create a playlist that you use each time you study.
How you look has a direct impact on how you feel and how you feel has a direct impact on how you perform. It can be tempting to wear sweats and super comfy clothes when you are taking a test, but dressing well has actually been proven to help you test better. It’s important to dress nicely in clothes that help you feel your best. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be comfortable. Make sure you have clean clothes that fit properly. If you are wearing layers, such as an undershirt, make sure that it isn’t going to get bunched under your other clothing and create an uncomfortable situation. Taking a little extra time to make sure that you feel good is well-worth it.
Take Notes in Different Colors
Sometimes a visual cue can help your brain organize information and categorize it in ways that are easier to remember. Pick up a pack of multi-colored highlighters and then organize your study based on different color schemes. Pick one color for each type of idea, then always use that color for that idea. Eventually, your brain will associate the information with that particular idea and color, making it easier for you to remember things in larger segments.
These few simple strategies can help you remember course content and be able to improve test scores without too much pain. Get enough rest, take advantage of familiar scents or tastes, make and use a study playlist, color coordinate your notes, and make sure you look great on test day. None of these things take too much time or effort, but they can make a huge difference.