How to Study for Tests: A Step-by-Step Guide

When it comes to studying for tests, preparation is key. In our newest video, we discuss a few tips to help you prepare, starting with your work in the classroom.



Have materials necessary for taking good notes, listening actively and diligently. Studying for tests begins before you go to class. Make sure you have everything you need to take good notes and that you have the right attitude to focus on the subject matter.

Develop a shorthand for wordy information. You don’t need full sentences to get the gist. Don’t get caught up in trying to catch every word during a lecture. Jot down key points that you’ll remember later.

For each set of notes, make sure you know what the key terms are, where every important handout is, and if what you wrote makes sense! Between the lecture and your study time, make sure you understand the material and that you have the information you need. If not, you’ll have time before the test to clarify with your teacher.

With your notes ready, let’s get to studying itself. We’ve got a few tips to help you study effectively so you can ace that upcoming test!

Create an environment where you can focus. Research shows that in general, it’s best to study in a place that is quiet and free from distractions. Find a quiet place where you’ll be able to focus (this is usually NOT your bedroom) and silence your phone so notifications don’t distract you.


Try different ways of using your notes. Note cards are a classic strategy that is known to work well when studying but try other methods like mnemonic devices and visual cues to see if they help you retain certain information better.

Use the teach-back method. One of the best ways to know how well you understand a topic is to explain the material to someone else in your own words. This can be a great way to check in on how well you understand a topic and see if there are any gaps you need to study more.

Manage your time wisely and break your studying into smaller chunks. Don’t wait until the night before the test to start studying! In fact, you should begin to prepare a week or so before the test. Break the material into smaller pieces and study in shorter sessions rather than one long study session. And don’t forget to reward yourself with breaks about every half-hour.

Studying the night before should actually be kept to a minimum. Instead, spend the night before briefly reviewing key terms and formulas, and make sure to get plenty of sleep so you’ll be at your best on test day.

At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, our focus is always on you. Our practices are based on the latest developments in educational theory and research. We have an excellent team of tutors who can help you with standardized testing, executive functioning, or achievement in any other school subject. If you would like more information, our Client Service Directors Anne Stanley and Susan Ware are available to answer questions and provide solutions. You may reach either of them by calling A+ Test Prep and Tutoring at 215-886-9188.


Posted in Study Techniques, Test Prep

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