When it comes time for important exams, college students’ usual level of effort may not quite cut it. Preparing for midterms or finals typically requires significantly more reading, reviewing, and studying–all of which can significantly impact academic success. Share these five tips with your students to help them ramp up their study techniques in time for midterms or other exams.  

To improve reading and studying skills, in her book 100% Student Success, 3rd Edition, author Gwenn Wilson suggests students consider following guideline for improvement. We’ve summarized some of her points below, providing additional helpful hints.

Search for the big concepts

Instead of reading every word when reviewing, find the most meaningful ones. Take notes and record questions you have on important concepts. These are the concepts that you’ll want to research further, study with a classmate on, or inquire with your instructor about during review time.

Build an overview

Skim through the testable material to determine the main ideas. After skimming, go back and reread the areas that need more attention. If you find yourself without time to master every concept, be sure to familiarize yourself with all the main ideas to avoid drawing a blank on test day.

Quiz yourself

Ask yourself questions on the material that you have read. Go back and review the material on which you had difficulty answering questions. If studying with others is effective for you, find a partner and quiz each other.

Use a variety of activities

In addition to reading, use the material and concepts that you are learning. Test yourself, review, organize related concepts and facts into categories, master the technical terms and formulas, and think of ways to apply the concepts to practical situations.

Use campus resources

Investigate and use campus resources available to you. Learning resource centers, writing labs, and student advisors are commonly available and be of great service to college students. (87)

For more hints on how to motivate your students to study, visit our post, “What Gets Students Studying? What Stops Them?

Reference: Wilson, Gwenn. 2015. 100% Student Success, 3rd ed. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

What resources or advice do you offer your students when reviewing for exams? Share your ideas below.