Study Tips

If you are taking courses at a college or as part of a certification program to qualify you for science jobs, you should start your test preparation after the first day of class. Set aside time to go over the material presented after every class and allot enough time to study before each exam. If you are taking other classes or working part- or full-time, make sure to take into account possible school- and work-related emergencies when budgeting your study time. Make sure to complete all homework assignments - in addition to improving your grade, this will help you understand and remember all the information presented in class. You should also review, and, if necessary, rewrite or edit your class notes after every class. It is very helpful to create an outline of the main topics, concepts, and formulas covered in class, as this can be a good study guide before the exam. Studying with a study partner or study group will also help you to better understand the material. Another way to get a better grasp on the material presented in class is to attend review sessions and ask questions. Keep in mind that in addition to test scores, some advanced training programs may require references - assuring that your professors remember you as a thoughtful student who participates in class, a good reference may further your career. Depending on the class environment, you can ask the instructor to specify the areas that will be emphasized on the test or to describe the kinds of problems they think you should be able to solve given the material presented in class. Also, try to find out if the tests are multiple choice or essay and how long the essays will be - this will help you prepare for both the material and the kind of techniques needed to effectively answer the different kinds of questions.

Before the test, go over all the materials (class notes, homework, sample problems, and assigned readings). On the night before the test, you should have done all the reading, and can spend several hours focusing on information you think needs extra attention. Do not try to pull all-nighters -you are not likely to remember very much, you will be tired and possibly confused when taking the test. Come to class a couple of minutes early to hear any instructions or other information about the test from the professor. Finally, after you have received your graded test, go over it to make sure you understand all the material - both the questions you got right and those you got wrong.

Test Anxiety

Study Tips A good academic record is important in any career, and science jobs are no exception. It is therefore important to develop a successful test-taking strategy. Part of this is learning how to deal with test anxiety. In response to stressful situations, whether real or perceived, the body releases adrenaline to prepare for the fight-or-flight response. The adrenaline rush can work in your favor by keeping you ready and alert. However, it can also make you jittery and unable to focus. Managing test anxiety is therefore an important test-taking skill. There are several ways to avoid or lessen test anxiety. Getting a good grasp on the material by coming to every class, taking good notes both in class and while doing the assigned readings, and spending some time after each class going over the material will help you feel secure in your understanding of the material and avoid anxiety. When possible, having a study partner or partners is also a good way to do this. Good time management skills such as setting aside enough time to prepare before each exam is also important. Taking practice tests is a very good way to relieve test anxiety, as it gives you confidence in your familiarity with the material and allows you to prepare for the specific type of test you will be taking so that you can manage your time while taking the real test more efficiently. Visiting the room where the test will be held, when possible, or locating the building and room where the test will be given before the day of the exam might relieve some of the stress associated with the unfamiliar surroundings. In addition, getting enough sleep and good nutrition, as well as leaving time for activities besides studying, such as sports or time with friends, is important in allowing you to deal with the stress that you cannot avoid.

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