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Advice on Preparing for Tests and Exams.
Igor Voytsekhivskyy

Studying abroad is always a challenge for international students. The main reason is that American approaches to studying and education differ from those in their home countries, for example. That's why it is often a problem for students from out the USA to get used to the way (or maybe style) of studying in American colleges. The following advice will be of value for most international students.

What you should and should not do:
• Begin studying as soon as classes start;
• Try no to miss class (usually lectures cover the full amount of information that will be later included to midterm or final tests);
• Sit in the front (practice shows that the closer you are to the lecturer and the class board, the more you hear and remember from every lecture);
• Do your homework assignments in time (the main goal of homework is not to “waste” your free time after classes, but to let you practice in what you heard during the lectures);
• Do not be later to classes (most lecturers give important information in the beginning of classes; also they talk about homework assignments for the next time; finally, most professors can take it as an offend if a student is always later to his/her class);
• Do you reading before you come to a class (this will help you understand better the material being presented during a lecture);
• Ask as many questions as many as you need (if you can't get something, keep asking the lecturer to explain it in some other way);
• Do not be afraid to do some extra homework assignments in case you do not understand the material (the more tasks and problems you solve, the faster and more correctly you will be doing on your tests).

Here are some tips that will help you get prepared for tests:

1. Start early!
An "all-nighter" is the least effective way to study for a test. Cramming for a test is like not eating for two weeks then trying to eat all those missed meals in one sitting. You can't digest that much food at once. You can't digest that much information at once either. Schedule several study sessions before a test. Repetition is the key to remembering.

2. Never miss the class before a test!
The class period before a test is when you'll find out what the test will be like. Find out as much as possible: - what will it cover? - will it be objective, essay or both? - how much will each type of question be worth? - how much time will you have to complete the test?

3. Learning the important information!
Using your class notes and your highlighted textbook, make flash cards with facts, definitions, people, dates, events, lists, etc. The act of writing the information on the cards will help you remember it. Each time you go through the stack of cards, you are transferring the information from your short term memory into your long term memory. If you are an auditory learner, study with a partner who can ask you the questions or give the answers aloud to yourself.

Look for recurring themes in your text and in your notes. Essay questions will probably come from those themes. Make a list of possible essay questions and make a brief outline of how you would answer each one.
Don't forget charts, diagrams and captions to pictures in your textbook. They can contain lots of valuable information.
If your professor has referred to a diagram in the text during his/her lecture, study it! Use mnemonic (memory) devices for learning lists or parts of something: for items that do not have to be remembered in any particular order, take their first letters and see if you can arrange them into a word or an easily remembered order. (Ex: the first letters of the Great Lakes spell HOMES) for items that must be learned in order, make up a sentence using their first letters in order. (Ex: the first letters of the words in the sentence "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas" will tell you the planets in order from the sun outward) if you like music, try setting information to a tune or rhythm Any memory device that works is okay, and it doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you!
Study with a friend - compare notes, ask each other questions, do flash cards together, discuss themes that would make good essay questions. Play the role of your professor. Make up the most difficult objective test you can and take it until you know the answers. Make visual organizers - invent charts, diagrams, trees, drawings to help you remember. Study past quizzes. Test question information tends to show up again and again. Try to overlearn the material, that is, study until the answers come to you easily. Remember that repetition is the key to remembering, and this means starting your test preparation early enough so that many repetitions are possible.

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