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Bad Grades Last Semester? Find Your Study Style and Raise Your GPA

As with most things in life, there's no one right way to study. If your performance on tests and exams tends to be poor, you might want to switch your technique. Even if you're pretty comfortable with the way you're currently doing things, a little variety never hurt anyone.

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By Sarah Wright

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Find Your Study Style

Studying seems pretty straightforward, but in actuality, there are many different ways you can reinforce your knowledge before an important test. Some techniques, like cramming, don't really work well for anyone. But other methods will work well for some, and less effectively for others. The key to lasting success is to find the study style that works best for you. Here are a few techniques you can try in your search for the best study style. You might even want to combine a few of these methods for maximum efficiency.

Test Yourself to Prepare for the Test

What better way to prepare for a test than to recreate the circumstances beforehand? You can find out where your knowledge is weak, and what areas you're already pretty good on, by making up a mock test with questions that you think might be covered on the real thing. Once you've developed the questions, you can either take an open-book approach or use your existing knowledge. Researching the answers will help reinforce your knowledge. You might want to try developing the study as the semester progresses to make it a more accurate recreation of an actual test situation.

Review Old Assignments

Unsure of what's actually going to be on the exam you're studying for? Dig out your old homework and quizzes from earlier in the semester - they'll help guide you in the right direction. Looking over graded assignments and tests will also help remind you of the areas in which you can improve your knowledge.

Take Notes from Your Notes

It can be difficult and daunting to sit down to study in front of a pile of old notes. Instead of reading through your old notes and calling that a study session, break your studying into two parts. First, go through your old notes and re-organize them in a more orderly and logical fashion. Anything that seems unimportant at this point can be left out of your re-write. Things that seem particularly important, or that recur or serve as a foundation for further development later in the semester, should be a particular point of focus.

Who's Your Study Buddy?

Studying with a partner or a group can be a great way of getting different perspectives on the material that'll be on the test. You might think one particular concept is the most important, while a classmate has different ideas. Won't you be glad you had their input when their instinct turns out to be right? One thing to be cautious of in group or partner study situations is any tendency to get off track. A best friend or class clown might not make the best study buddy, so make sure you choose wisely.

It's a good idea to get some effective study time in, but don't study too much.

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