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Test Taking Myths to Try Out During Midterm Week

Midterms are upon us, Blue Jays. Whether or not you’ve already taken some, they’re coming up, or you don’t have any, I’ve made this very special list for you. I’ve done some light research and informal polling of people around campus. The following “myths” are things people claim to have worked for them while attempting to study. Give one or two a try, and let me know how it goes. Catch me doing the second one next weekend!

1. Don’t just study in one place

I expected people to tell me the exact opposite, that studying in just one place made it easier to relax and concentrate with the same environment for your brain to work in, but I was getting mixed reviews. So I searched online, and this tutoring site claimed that you should always study in multiple places because it “provides your brain with more memory cues to recall the information…[so] if you studied for a certain chapter at the library, another at the coffee shop, and another at home, then your brain will be more likely to retain and recall the information because it has additional memory cues.”

2. Listen to new music or a certain genre

I don’t know about anyone else, but I love to have music playing when I’m cleaning, getting ready, walking, or studying; it just helps me focus. So I imagined it would be proven through studies that listening to music could be beneficial, because I heard once that listening to the same song you studied with during your exam will help you remember, but then I realized you can’t listen to music in an exam room. So, I looked online and there’s a lot of research done into what types of genre to listen to during studying or work, depending on if it has to do with numbers, solving equations, problem solving, or other things. Asking around campus, I found that most people listen to new music they haven’t heard before, because you’re less likely to get distracted to a song you’re not addicted to.  

3. Rewrite everything

I’ve been told countless times that this is true. Highlighting, reading notes, and flashcards may help you, but the best technique for memorizing information is rewriting. Always write in your own words, Buzzfeed claims, and just continue to rewrite it from your computer, to your notebook, to a chalkboard, to a flashcard, to other areas. When you think you know it, write less like bullet points to recall the longer information.  

4. Study for a week straight vs one night

I’ve heard countless times people claiming they work best under pressure by doing all their work and studying the night before it’s due, although teachers and professors always told us to study across multiple days. So I wondered if it was possible to get better results from cramming work. I researched if studying four hours in one night would have the same results as studying one hour a day for four days, and Complete Test Preparation Inc claims there is a difference, and it’s better to not cram in studying. However, they do offer tips on how to cram studying into one night for those who need.

5. Listening to recordings

I didn’t know this was a thing, but Complete Test Preparation Inc mentioned that listening to recordings of someone saying the material for a test during your sleep isn’t going to help you, so I thought about if it would help you while you’re awake. So I asked around, and it seems many people have found it useful. Pull out your phone during class and record the review, then let it play back as you’re lounging around. If you concentrate on the words, it may help people who aren’t visual learners.

6. Testing yourself

I’ve only ever tried this for math before, but it’s really simple: take questions from your textbook, class notes, or online resources and make your own exam. Don’t look at the answers until after you’ve filled it out, then correct what was wrong. It worked well with math to just see how off my numbers were, and it would also totally work for any multiple choice test.

7. Study out loud

Kind of similar to listening to recordings, but this myth is done by you just reading your notes, textbook, and/or study guide out loud. Having you hear it may help you focus on it more, but you’re also looking at it as you read. There weren’t too many people on campus who did this one, but why not give it a shot?

8. Fight your anxiety

This myth is false. You can’t fight testing anxiety, it’s going to happen no matter what. So I could tell you to get enough sleep, eat some fruit, and take a deep breather, but we all know studying for days straight isn’t going to go well no matter what we do. You’re going to be nervous, you may feel overworked, and you could even feel the desire to just give up. But you’ve got this, one exam grade will not ruin your life, and this week will soon be over. Good luck, Blue Jays.

Jennifer Davenport

Elizabethtown '21

Campus Correspondent for the Her Campus club at Elizabethtown College. Jennifer is part of the Class of 2021, and she's a middle level English education major, with a creative writing minor. Her hobbies include volunteering, watching YouTube for way too many hours, and posting memes on her Instagram. She was raised in New Jersey, lives in New York, and goes to college in Pennsylvania, so she's ruined 3 of America's 50 states. She's an advocate for mental health, LGBT+ rights, and educational reform.
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