Study Skill of the Week
September 19, 2003
Improving Test Performance
Exam Pending---Lots of Material to be Covered
Making Your Own Study Guide
1. This strategy is similar to SQ3R, but is a little bit of a short cut. Begin by surveying
your book and notes. Find all of the headings in the chapter(s), words in italics and titles
of graphs and charts. Also, pick out the main ideas from your class notes.
2. As you find each main idea, create a question about that idea. If the idea is very
complicated, you may need two or more questions to completely cover the topic.
3. On one sheet of paper number and write each question. On a separate sheet of paper,
write the answers by number to each of your questions. It is often good to compare notes
with a friend to see if you are on the right track. Once you have answered all of the
questions, you will have a complete study guide.
4. Knowing how to use the study guide is as important as creating it. You should plan
on reading each of your questions and writing the answer on a separate sheet of paper.
Then you can use your original answer key to check your answers. Write your answers in
pencil. It is very important that you write the answers, rather than just saying them to
yourself. You will remember a greater percentage of what you write. If you get an
answer wrong, erase it and write the correct answer. This will increase the amount you
remember and will help you commit knowledge to your long-term memory.
5. You will need 30 minutes within two hours prior to your exam. Just before the exam,
go back over all of the questions and briefly answer them to yourself, checking the
answers as you go. Write down the answers to the questions that you miss (at this point,
do not write down the ones you know). This will help you use your short-term memory
to recall information that you may not have completely mastered.
6. On the exam, answer all of the questions that you know immediately first. Then, you
can clear your short-term memory. Go back to the answers that require more thinking
time and carefully think them over. A good strategy is to try to write the answer out
(even if it is a multiple choice exam) because the process of writing will help you recall
from your previous writing of the answers.
7. If the exam is long, give yourself a one minute vacation every 15 minutes. This is
done by closing the eyes and visualizing something that is calming to you. After clearing
your mind, you will find your recall often improves.
8. This method can be great with a study buddy, if both students take the tasks seriously.