How Best to Study

By Ivette Barajas and Alena Tran

With only a few weeks left of school, final exams appear to be the most persistent origin of student panic. While big tests can be daunting, we advise you to chill out and follow these few steps to acing any test.

  • Relax. Freaking out only escalates the problem; it does not help in finding a resolution. Whether relaxing for you means meditating at Peter’s Canyon or going for a walk, find a way to anchor yourself to reality rather than the SOS siren in your head. While tests are important, the fact of the matter is that your life does not end with a bad grade. You fail and then you move on. Let go of the grade and focus on the gift of knowledge.
  • Begin. It is best to start early as you can since cramming can be difficult and at times, ineffective. The spacing effect proves that people retain information better when studying is spread out over time, rather than overnight. Start by managing your time. Reserve any downtime you know you’ll have for hitting the books.
  • Make it interesting. There is a weird disconnect between students and the subjects examined in school. A lot of students tend to be concerned with grades rather than knowledge accumulated. If this is you, it would be beneficial for you to try to change your perspective: look for the relevance and significance in every topic. If you are intrigued by a subject, there is a good chance you’ll perform better than apathetic students.
  • Watch review videos. While these videos are only a summation of the topic you’ll be testing on, review videos help narrow down the aspects of the course you need to focus on. If the video covers something unfamiliar, you can begin investigating the topic in further depth.
  • Make outlines and flashcards. These study tools are probably the most underrated. Creating outlines and flashcards condenses the information on the test and will provide a clearer breakdown of your exam topic. If the material is organized into categories and sections, it will be easier to retain any information.
  • Repetition. Don’t make study tools and then move on—use them!—after all, practice makes perfect.
  • Ask your teacher for help. Nearly all of Tustin High’s teachers provide study guides, review material, and Quizlet links to help make the studying process easier. If you are unclear about something, ask immediately. Make it a habit; be annoyingly curious. If you tie an explanation you had asked a teacher for to a topic you had trouble with, chances are, you’ll remember it during the test.
  • Take practice tests. You have the World Wide Web at your fingertips, search for tests and quizzes that pertain to your subject. Afterwards, look at the questions that you got wrong and learn from them. This final step will help determine if your work has paid off.


Happy studying! End strong and work hard, Tillers. Summer break is just around the corner!

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