Study Tips: How to Ace Your Exam

Study Tips: How to Ace Your Exam

Studying in college isn’t just about getting a 4.0 GPA or getting 100% on an exam. You’re going back to school for a reason, and that reason is likely that you want a better job. The information you learn now is information that you’ll use throughout the rest of your career. You need to know how to soak it all up.

So how do you study in a way that will help you retain information for the rest of your life?


1. Start Early

While cramming might help you scrape by for short-term learning, it simply doesn’t work for the type of long-term learning you are seeking to accomplish in college. Rather than waiting until the week of the exam, or even the night before, you should be studying all along. For example, when you take notes from an in-class lecture, study them that night while the information is still fresh on your mind.

2. Make a Study Guide
A few weeks before the exam, make a study guide from all of your notes and readings. Take all the main points and details and put them on one document. This will be your reference sheet for all of your studying, so make sure it is as thorough as possible. You can also hold onto these study guides for use in your life after college.

3. Use Notecards
Notecards are a great tool for learning, no matter the subject. If you have definitions or facts to memorize, write them out on notecards and quiz yourself until you can answer every single one correctly. If your class is more “idea-based” and less “fact-based,” you can still use notecards as a study aide: just put the title of the idea on one side of the card, and explanations or key points on the other. Often, the simple act of writing these ideas down will help you internalize them.

4. Practice Essay Questions
If you’re likely to have essay questions as part of your exam, you can prepare for them by writing out some sample essay questions and answers. Think about what big-picture topics the class has focused on. If it’s a class on Business Management, perhaps a good essay question would be “What makes a good manager?” or “How would you handle disagreements between employees?”

exam study tips

5. Teach Someone Else
The surest way to prove to yourself that you really understand a topic is to try and teach it to someone else. If you find yourself feeling confused or struggling to explain things in a concise way, then it’s likely you don’t yet have a strong grasp on the material. You can also try finding a study partner who is either in the same course as you or who already understands the material. That way the person you are trying to “teach” can hold you accountable if you explain anything incorrectly.

If you’re feeling inspired to start the road to a brighter future, get in touch with one of our LA ORT Advisors today!

LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.