Q&A: Test Preparation Tips

Answers: Taking tests can be nerve-wrecking. However, the secret to doing well on exams is preparation. Preparing for tests and quizzes means having a good plan that works for all of your classes. The plan involves taking notes, time management and good study skills/habits.


Many times, students take notes during lectures. However, to really "soak-up" the information, you should take notes from all of the materials utilized. This includes lectures, as well as videos, peer presentations, textbook readings, research and any other course materials pertaining to the subject/topic (i.e. handouts, worksheets, etc.).

There are many ways to take notes and you have to find the best technique for you. Note taking means jotting down the main points and definitions. It's also a good idea to write examples that your teacher uses in class, or make up your own. Examples will trigger you to remember the concepts.

Time Management

Time management is necessary as a student and in life. Everyone should have a good balance between "work and play." Keeping a study schedule is imperative for doing well in your classes. Organizing your time means having specific study hours, daily and weekly. Students should set regular study times and use a calendar or your smart phone as a reminder.


According to educational research, for every one hour a student spends in class, they should spend two hours studying outside of class. Most (easy) classes encourage or require students to spend a minimum of 10-12 hours in the classroom per week. For more difficult subjects or classes that have a heavier work load, plan on 15-20 hours per week in the classroom. This means most online students, should spend a minimum of 20 hours per week outside of class studying, and much more for harder classes. Scheduling 2-3 hours of studying per day should suffice. You may have to study more if preparing for a bigger exam.

The most effective way to study is by breaking up your study times throughout the day. Try getting up an hour earlier and studying before school or work. Maybe take 15 minutes during your lunch break to review your notes. Instead of 2-3 hours watching T.V. or on the computer, spend an hour of that time studying. Study one last time before going to bed. This increases your chances of remembering the material.

Don't wait until the last minute to study or cram. Plan for success from day one of your classes by taking good notes, managing your time and studying.

Dr. Beverley BrowningDr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev) has been a higher education adjunct faculty member for over 25 years. She has taught in the classroom and online for multiple colleges and universities including Spring Arbor College, Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, and Rio Salado College. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Spring Arbor College and Mott Community College. She is currently an online instructor for ed2go.com (Cengage Learning). In addition to founding and directing the Grant Writing Training Foundation, Dr. Bev is also Vice President of Grants Professional Services for eCivis, Inc. She is the author over over 37 grant-related publications and a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter for national and regional conferences. Dr. Bev is a product of lifelong learning and an advocate for online teaching and learning!