Author Topic: How do I study for a test?  (Read 4518 times)

mozar

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How do I study for a test?
« on: May 22, 2016, 04:06:11 PM »
I never learned how to study so I am looking for help with the fundamentals. When I look online different websites say things like I need to change my routine, which is OK. I plan to do that. I'm going to have to stop using the internet for two months because I am completely incapable of managing my internet time which is fine. But I don't know what to do.

I've read that you should make a summary of each chapter, but what happens is that I start making a summary, then I start incorporating more information, then I start copying the entire text in my notebook, because i'm so afraid of missing anything. That worked in grad school because I had more time. But I work full time now. I have some anxiety about studying but I'm hoping to get through it. The material isn't hard as much as there is just a lot of it. It's called the CGFM which is government compliance related.

Any advice?

Cassie

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2016, 04:30:05 PM »
What has worked for me is I get a stack of index cards and write the question on the front and the answer on the back. Then I can quiz myself.

forummm

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2016, 04:42:06 PM »
People learn differently. But I would generally read the chapter. Reread anything I didn't really understand very well. If there were sample questions, make sure I was pretty comfortable answering them. If not, go back and read again. If there is stuff that's more memorizing (like equations) instead of understanding and applying (like a concept), then write them out and go over them a lot (whether it's index cards or a list).

brute

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2016, 04:52:00 PM »
Depends on how much time you have, what kind of test it will be, and how well you understand the material.

For me, if I felt pretty good about it, I'd review my notes, class slides, and call it good. If it was a difficult class, I would read the chapter and write a one sentence summary of each paragraph. Overkill in general, but I had to do that for bioinformatics. It was just not at all intuitive for me.

Jakejake

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2016, 05:21:44 PM »
One thing that helps is to study small chunks over a longer amount of time rather than cramming lots of info in long sessions. I like to do one lesson or chunk or whatever feels manageable in my brain, then go away and do something else that isn't mentally taxing. Maybe study one chunk then go for a bike ride or walk - without headphones - or garden, or chop veggies for dinner. During that time, my brain replays sections of what I just learned. The next study session, review that, and add new info, do another meditative activity. Third session, review the first two lessons and add a third chunk, and so one.

You might also be able to find or make an interactive study guide online and maybe use with with other people studying for the same test with a site like this: http://www.quizmeonline.net/create-study-guide-online  (disclaimer - I haven't used that specific site, it just came up in a search)

mozar

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2016, 08:26:42 PM »
Any suggestions on note taking strategies?

pbkmaine

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2016, 08:40:20 PM »
The way I study for tests is to take as many mock tests as possible, under exam-like conditions. If you Google "CGFM mock tests" you will get a slew of hits. Take a bunch of exam questions and use them as a diagnostic. What area did you mess up the most? Study that. Are there some areas where you get all the questions right? Skip that. All the really brilliant test takers I know study this way, and the best test prep courses use this method as well.

Lski'stash

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2016, 09:26:48 PM »
There are many note-taking strategies. I really like the Cornell note taking method, personally (google image search the term and examples pop up). You could also try creating a mind- map of the concepts you are learning about, which helps your brain to make the connections easier. I also make simple summaries of each page I'm reading (try to stay within 8-10 words), and keep a journal of those as I go and make other notes off of them as needed.

Also, always keep the purpose of your reading in mind. For example, if I have questions to answer about a chapter. I write down the questions on a sticky note and stick them on the page with the answer.

Just a few tips from a language arts teacher:)

Lagom

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2016, 09:30:05 PM »
There are many note-taking strategies. I really like the Cornell note taking method, personally (google image search the term and examples pop up). You could also try creating a mind- map of the concepts you are learning about, which helps your brain to make the connections easier. I also make simple summaries of each page I'm reading (try to stay within 8-10 words), and keep a journal of those as I go and make other notes off of them as needed.

Also, always keep the purpose of your reading in mind. For example, if I have questions to answer about a chapter. I write down the questions on a sticky note and stick them on the page with the answer.

Just a few tips from a language arts teacher:)

+1 for the Cornell method. I used to teach it to my students as well, and while not everyone liked it, quite a few found it to be very effective.

galliver

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2016, 12:43:47 PM »
I think in your shoes I would take a sample exam first. Doesn't really matter, IMO, if it's timed like it would be for real, but you have to take it blind (no peeking/looking up answers). Maybe mark the questions you weren't sure about as you go, so even if you get them right you know you had some uncertainty. The goal of this is to create "hooks" in your mind for information to catch on to as you read/study. It's best if you can generalize away from the specific questions. I don't know what is covered on a finance exam, but if it was high school chemistry and the question was on, say, double-replacement reactions, you could conclude you need to know all the kinds of reaction types (not just double-replacement). If you get most of the answers right, congratulations, you barely need to review! Look up just the topics you weren't sure about or missed. If you don't, perhaps you need a more cover-to-cover approach.

Then read, and take notes (by hand), on all the topics you need to cover. I've personally never found any strategies to be very helpful. I think in my experience the main purpose of notes, especially from reading, is to force my brain to process the information rather than just skim over it. I have looked back on them after but not very frequently, because I can usually remember stuff I wrote down. If you are reading test prep materials, they may be quite dense in information and you might feel like you're copying out the book; I think that's fine if that's what it is; just don't do full sentences, use some kind of shorthand (+ or & for "and", -> for "leads to/causes", that kind of thing). Whereas in another source, you might be most interested in the key points/conclusions, and only read the supporting arguments to convince yourself.

If the material you are using has section/chapter questions or topics, use those to guide yourself. Look for the answers to those questions and write them down when you get to them. If there are questions or problems at the end, do at least some of those; maybe the quick, short answer/recall ones, and a few that look hard (if applicable).

Definitions and facts lend themselves to flash cards; make a deck (real or virtual) of these as you read and go through them a couple times a day, before bed, etc. Processes, like solution methods for problems, don't lend themselves as well to this. I think the best way to learn processes is to use them. Solve lots of problems; not sure what this looks like for finance but basically anything more complex than a few-word answer--an argument, explanation, working with data?

Finally, re-test yourself, maybe timed this time. If you have more sample tests than you could ever get through,  you could do this throughout the study process. If you only have a couple, might make sense to reserve a few for testing yourself at the end, to really catch any gaps after you've covered as much as possible.

Hope that helps! Good luck!!

mskyle

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2016, 01:02:15 PM »
The way I study for tests is to take as many mock tests as possible, under exam-like conditions. If you Google "CGFM mock tests" you will get a slew of hits. Take a bunch of exam questions and use them as a diagnostic. What area did you mess up the most? Study that. Are there some areas where you get all the questions right? Skip that. All the really brilliant test takers I know study this way, and the best test prep courses use this method as well.

Agree! Take a mock test or two before you start - you don't want to waste a time on stuff that you a) already know or b) isn't emphasized on the test. Then find the patterns in what you missed.

Drifterrider

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2016, 01:19:04 PM »
What works for me.

Read the paragraph.  Highlight the thesis statement in yellow.  Read each paragraph for itself, not in combination with the other paragraphs.  Read all the material and highlight all the thesis statements in yellow.

Re-read the paragraph.  Highlight the thesis statement in blue.  Sometimes you will pick a different statement than you did before, don't worry about it.  Read all the material.

Re-read the paragraph statement that is GREEN (yellow and blue).  Most of the statements you highlighted will be green.  Memorize/understand those.

Time permitting, re-read the paragraphs where you chose different statements and decide if you need to re-evaluate your choice or memorize BOTH statements.

I find this to work on narrative based exams. 

marty998

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2016, 04:18:43 PM »
Have you taken the test? How did you go?

mozar

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2016, 04:48:27 PM »
Ohh...I cancelled the test. I read the table of contents and I had a panic attack. So my mental health still isn't where I need to be.

Tjat

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2016, 05:34:30 PM »
Is there a course you can take to help study. If it's worth it for your career, the extra expense sounds like it would make sense

marty998

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2016, 05:42:02 PM »
Ohh...I cancelled the test. I read the table of contents and I had a panic attack. So my mental health still isn't where I need to be.

Sorry to hear... hope you can push through it next time.

Rubic

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2016, 01:08:19 PM »
Ohh...I cancelled the test. I read the table of contents and I had a panic attack. So my mental health still isn't where I need to be.

Okay, here's my advice:  Change your goal.  Your original goal was to pass this test, correct?  Given your history, I'd suggest that you change it to:

"I will take the CGFM exam.  I don't care how well I score on the test, my goal is just to take the test."

Now you have an easier goal to achieve.  Just show up.  If you can't finish the exam, it's okay (but try to anyway), because you've met your original goal.



You might consider taking a practice test: http://www.testprepreview.com/CGFM.htm

Same goal, lower hurdle.  You don't care how well you do on the practice examination, because your goal is to attempt to finish the exam.  Your score is even less important on a practice exam.



Visualization: Think about how great it feels when you have no pressure on your final score, but you hit an exam question exactly right. Experience that feeling of exhilaration, visualize it and savor your victory.  Next, counter a negative experience.  You read a question that makes absolutely no sense to you, so you skip it because you don't care about your score.  You feel the burden of skipping that question on the exam just slip away, because it has no hold over you.  Rinse and repeat.  It's only a test.  Plan a small celebration for yourself when you complete your test, ideally with a friend(s).  In your visualization, you will look forward to this post-exam celebration, knowing you will celebrate without consideration to how well you performed.  The point of this celebration is to anticipate an enjoyable post-exam outcome because you met your goal.

Jim2001

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2016, 01:32:33 PM »
Ohh...I cancelled the test. I read the table of contents and I had a panic attack. So my mental health still isn't where I need to be.

To help clarify your motivation for taking the test (or not), take some time to consider why you want to take it in the first place.  What will having that certificate mean to you in a year, five years, ten years, etc.  Will it open up higher earning potential? Why is that important to you (vacations, helping family, early FIRE, or what ever is important to you).  When you have a clear picture of why it's important, do a similar exercise about what it will cost you if you don't pass. 

In the end you will either have a compelling reason why, or you won't. 

If you have a compelling enough reason why, write it down on and start every study session with review of the statement of why you absolutely must accomplish this goal.


bonjourliz

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2016, 01:40:37 PM »
For the bar exam, I read over my notes and outlines.  Then I gathered as many practice questions as I could.  Most of them were multiple choice.  As I worked through them, I forced myself to explain (in my head) why the wrong answers were wrong and why the right answer was right. (And in doing so, I followed the bar examiners' preferred method for answering essay questions, thus practicing that format as well.)

A lot of the wrong answers touched on rules/exceptions that were irrelevant to the question at hand, but this method allowed me to review those rules/exceptions just as if the question had indicated it. 

ETA: I see that you cancelled the test, but maybe this method will be useful down the road.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 01:42:54 PM by bonjourliz »

Goldielocks

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2016, 01:59:55 PM »
Ohh...I cancelled the test. I read the table of contents and I had a panic attack. So my mental health still isn't where I need to be.

Okay, here's my advice:  Change your goal.  Your original goal was to pass this test, correct?  Given your history, I'd suggest that you change it to:

"I will take the CGFM exam.  I don't care how well I score on the test, my goal is just to take the test."

Now you have an easier goal to achieve.  Just show up.  If you can't finish the exam, it's okay (but try to anyway), because you've met your original goal.



This!   I just wrote a final, and honestly, I knew two weeks ago that I was under prepared.   But I took it anyway, moving the test or failing and retaking it both would cost $130, so why not take it, learn from the "practice", etc..

Neat thing is that I studied a bit more in the 4 days beforehand, and I think i managed a 70% or better on it.   I just needed to relax and not focus on the questions / parts I was clueless on.

mozar

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Re: How do I study for a test?
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2016, 10:12:08 AM »
Recruiters almost always ask if I'm going to take the test. But I keep getting job offers and raises without it. Some employers want me to pass the cpa (big 4) but that's not going to happen because that test is way too hard and I dont want to work there. Some employers say just take any certificate we don't care. So I imagine it will help improve job stability if I passes something. So it makes me feel anxious not passing one. But I really don't care for basic accounting and I have test anxiety. I guess the reason I get so many calls is because I'm relatively young and they'll probably decrease as I get older, with a certificate or not. I feel like I wouldn't have the mental health to pass a certificate until I retire which doesn't help.