Advice for assessment preparation

Studying+for+tests+can+be+less+stressful+and+more+successful+with+a+concrete+study+plan.

ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ/SAGAMORE STAFF

Studying for tests can be less stressful and more successful with a concrete study plan.

“Test on Monday!” the teacher announces, students’ hearts already beating faster. But what if studying for a test didn’t have to be so stressful?

Adequately preparing for a test, no matter the size, can be more productive and bring more success with a well-developed plan.

According to Geometry teacher Adam Fried, there are several valuable strategies he recommends to students, one of these being to spread out studying to avoid having to cram information within close proximity to the test.

“Spend five minutes every day looking back at not what you did that day on that homework assignment, but what you did the previous day in class,” Fried said. “Everyone has five minutes a day; do it when you’re brushing your teeth or while you’re waiting for the microwave; just find time to do it. If you spend five minutes a day doing this, you probably won’t actually really need to study the day before a test.”

Fried said a useful strategy is to take a blank sheet of paper and write down things that come to mind when thinking about the unit to understand what content one is more familiar with and where to direct more focus.

For example, if a student were studying for a test on proofs in geometry class, writing down all the theorems and their meanings based on memory and then checking which ones were missed would give a better sense of which to study more.

Physics teacher Jason Tong said that the two most foolproof ways to excel at tests are taking the best notes possible during class and avoiding leaving things until the last minute.

Fried also suggested journaling each day after class so that students have a recap of what was discussed that day. This way, all of the important content is in one place.

Elena Cruz-Lopez, Spanish teacher, said she tells her students to utilize interactive activities to study.

“I like to recommend games like Kahoot or Quizlet, especially for a vocabulary-based test. It is a better way of retaining information,” Cruz-Lopez said.

Fried, Tong and Cruz-Lopez all said that the various help centers offered at the high school are valuable resources that students should take advantage of.

Fried said that the positive environment at Math Center makes it a very productive learning space for students.

“It’s really nice to be in a place where there are so many people all working on math, and there’s no judgment and no stigma. Everyone’s just there to work on math,” Fried said.

Another effective strategy is to study with a friend or group of friends. Fried said that working with a study buddy lowers the chances of missing something in your review.

Tong said that classmates are an important resource available to students.

“Utilize your classmates, as long as you can find people to study with and not be too distracting,” Tong said.

Tong also said that it is incredibly important to become comfortable going to teachers for help.

“Ask for help from your teachers. I know that personally, I had trouble learning to ask for help. Don’t be afraid,” Tong said.

We are all massive dorks who love talking about whatever subject we are teaching, so it is the highlight of our day when students come in. That makes our day,”

— Adam Fried

Fried affirmed Tong’s suggestion and said that teachers appreciate students coming forward and asking for help.

“We are all massive dorks who love talking about whatever subject we are teaching, so it is the highlight of our day when students come in. That makes our day,” Fried said.

After productive and organized studying, it comes time for the test itself.

Cruz-Lopez said that on the morning of a test, it is most important to focus on other things, like taking care of oneself.

“I always recommend having a good breakfast, and on the way to school, listening to music or talking to a friend about something different from the exam. The most important things are to sleep a lot and have breakfast,” Cruz-Lopez said.

Fried said that it is crucial to maintain a positive attitude and remove their self-inflicted pressure as students work through a test.

“Stop, take a minute, breathe, and tell yourself some affirmations like, ‘I am ready for this.’ I always tell my students before every test, ‘I’m really only interested in seeing what you know, not what you don’t know,’” Fried said. “The biggest thing, which is really hard to convince yourself of, is that how you do on a test is not defining who you are as a student or a person.”