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Step 1

    Keep current with your reading assignments and don't fall behind.   Build in 30-45 minute time periods for reading and then work on another assignment for 30-45 minutes before returning to your chapter reading assignment.   This is called "Time-Spaced Learning" and it increases concentration and comprehension.

Step 2

    As you read your chapter, keep in mind what information you feel will be on the test.    Look for chapter headings, bolded vocabulary, picture and chart information, and questions at the end of a chapter.   These are good indicators of what the author feels is important to emphasize in the chapter.

Step 3

     Mark your text as you read to save time when reviewing.   Highlight main points and mark key supporting details and examples.   Make margin notes to indicate important points, and create concept maps (see concept maps) and reading notes for review.

Step 4

  Take time to combine or merge your reading notes with your lecture notes.   Start connecting the key points from both sources to better comprehend the information.   Some students do this by splitting a page in half and labeling one side "Reading" and the other side "Lecture".   As part of their review, they write down parallel information from the two sources.   This helps to unify the chapter information in a meaningful way.

Step 5

    Create your own test questions for review using your reading notes, text markings, concept maps and lecture notes.    Work with a partner or study group and exchange questions to see what others feel are important in the chapter.

   If preparing for an essay exam, actually write out your entire paragraphed response to a question that you created or that the instructor provided.     Doing the actual writing is the best way to practice formulating what you want to say when you are under time limits.    It allows you to look over your essay form (intro., body, conclusion), your key points, and your examples.

Step 6

    Review the material often using multiple strategies such as telling someone about the information, recording the important points on tape, creating flash cards of key concepts, drawing pictures to summarize material, etc.   The more ways that you work with the information, the better your memory and comprehension will be.