Studying Tips You Probably Didn’t Know

Everyone, at one time or another, has sought to improve their skills in preparations for tests. For some, the improvement deems necessary – such as a receiving a minimum score on the SAT for admission to a university. For others, it simply could just help to learn study skills, considering the emphasis on standardized testing in the United States.

A good example of appropriate studying. (photo by steakpinball)

Tip One: Your Gut Will Mislead You

According to Fifty Great Myths of Popular Psychology, the age-old advice of picking an answer based on your initial response will not do much for you. There is no correlation between following your gut on questions and getting the answer correct. Often times, you should answer questions by this format:

  • If you know the answer – Stick with your answer.
  • If you aren’t sure if your answer is correct – Change your answer to fit your second response, not your gut.
  • If you don’t know the answer – Use deductive reasoning.

Tip Two: Study in a Familiar Environment

When I was a young child, I assured others I could work the best in an environment with noise in the background. Now, I am aware that if you study in the same environment that you will be tested, you will prove to do better. In most cases, this is a quiet and tranquil environment. As according to AP Psychology textbook by Pearson, one is more inclined to retrieve information in the same setting they studied in.

Also, if possible, take the test in the same seat you studied the material in. It is in this same method that the environment will manipulate one’s mind’s retrieval.

Tip Three: Don’t Push Through Fatigue

Often times, people will tell you that if you need rest, to push through, and you will get a spurt of energy once more. The cycle will then repeat itself. Although this does work, it is not as effective as taking a nap. This sounds detrimental, but it doesn’t mean to take one to two hours to rest, although we may wish to. If you are fatigued, you should, instead, be taking fifteen to thirty minutes to rest. Any more will prove to be detrimental as you will not be able to sleep well that night without the aid of sleeping pills. Autopilotlive goes into greater detail here.

Tip Four: Do Not Cram For Tests

If you want to talk about wasted time, napping won’t serve to waste time, but cramming will. You will lose majority of what you learned if you study, say, right before bed. Instead, review the day of the test, about an hour beforehand. The material will be fresh in your memory, and you will prove to do better than if you crammed the night before. However, if you do not have time the day of the test, you may study for a test about one to two hours before sleep. That information is more likely to be put into your mind’s storage as well. Want to know the reasoning behind it? gives great insight into why this method of learning does not work.

Of course, there are other studying tips that you could benefit from. When it comes down to the individual, one must know how one learns best.

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