Toughest Exam Question: What Is the Best Way to Study?
From: WSJ article
: October 26, 2011
Highlights from the article:
- Chiefly, testing yourself repeatedly before an exam teaches the brain to retrieve and apply knowledge from memory.
- Practice tests also help with test-taking skills, such as pacing...
- Sleep also plays a role in test performance, but in two unexpected ways. Review the toughest material right before going to bed the night before the test. That approach makes it easier to recall the material later...
- The all-nighter—is a bad idea. Although 60% of college students stay up all night at some point in school, the practice is linked to lower grades...
- High-carb, high-fiber, slow-digesting foods like oatmeal are best, research shows. But what you eat a week in advance matters, too.
- What you eat a week in advance matters, too. When 16 college students were tested on attention and thinking speed, then fed a five-day high-fat, low-carb diet heavy on meat, eggs, cheese and cream and tested again, their performance declined.
- While many teens insist they study better while listening to music or texting their friends, research shows the opposite: Information reviewed amid distractions is less likely to be recalled later...
- Even when students are fully prepared, anxiety can be another burden on test day.
- One calming tactic that has been shown to improve scores is to teach yourself in advance to think differently about the test... Then switch your mental image to the testing room and imagine yourself feeling the same way. With practice, you'll be able to summon up more confidence on test day.
- If you are still feeling anxious, set aside 10 minutes beforehand to write down your worries. Expressing one's worries in writing, Dr. Beilock says, unburdens the brain. The anxious kids who did the writing exercise performed as well on the test as the students who had been calm all along. But anxious students who didn't do the writing performed more poorly.