How to Study for a Science Test

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

Science courses can be notoriously difficult, but with preparation and proven study tactics you'll be able to effectively study for and pass any science test. Take a look at some of the practices you can implement all semester long in addition to study suggestions you can apply as your test date approaches.

Ask Questions In Class

It's very easy for people to fall behind in their studies by simply not utilizing the instruction at hand. If there's something in your science class or homework that you don't understand, ask your instructor for help. Remember, all lectures are likely to feature major focus points that will show up on tests. If you let opportunities to clarify difficult material slip by, you'll risk being unprepared. Of course, this will require you to keep up with reading assignments so you can write down questions you have on the material before they're discussed the next day.

Develop Good Note-Taking Skills

You'll want to make sure you document everything discussed in class. Writing notes will allow you to record and remember information, such as new scientific terms, that will be prime study material for tests. Science topics build heavily upon one another, so keeping track of the different concepts and terms is crucial for your success on test day. You can also write down answers to any questions you might have had before class, being sure to include details that explain the reasoning behind said answers.

Compile your notes for each class and use them to create a convenient study guide for your tests. This way, you won't be scrambling to put together information to go over or need to look for the central topics covered, because you'll have them in your notes. For more pointers on effective note-taking strategies, check out our Taking Notes and Making Study Guides resource.

Study Visual Representations

Going through your textbook, you're bound to notice graphs, charts, and other illustrations alongside the main text. Take the time to study these images, even incorporate them into your notes. If you're getting confused by scientific terms or concepts in your textbook, images can be used to bridge the gap by creating a physical representation of how concepts work and are connected. This is called graphical reasoning.

After studying images in class or in your textbook, draw them out yourself and include captions and labels that explain the image. Practice drawing graphs or charts without the textbook and you'll have the knowledge cold! Gain insight on how to effectively study scientific visuals in How to Read Scientific Graphs & Charts.

Develop a Study Schedule

You may have a good grasp of the test material, but if you can't set aside sufficient review time, you may forget crucial information or neglect to study it altogether. Ensure this doesn't happen by designing a study schedule. Factor in specific times, days, and areas of the science course you want to focus on and adjust your study habits as you go.

Be flexible with yourself. Allow for break times and different kinds of study methods, such as rereading textbook sections, reviewing labs and notes, and studying flashcards. You can always adjust the amount of time you focus on certain content based on how comfortable you are with the topic or whether you've struggled with it in the past.

While school and life can be chaotic, there are ways you can manage your time to incorporate the studying needed to pass your science tests. For time management tips, look into Fitting Studying Into a Busy Schedule for strategies on how to maximize your preparation time. Resources

If you find yourself struggling in science, or simply want to get ahead in your studies, has the resources to help you in all of your science classes. Take advantage of our vast catalog of online science courses covering every science discipline from grade school to college. These courses' instructional videos, transcripts and practice quizzes break down science topics into easily digestible lessons that you can review whenever and wherever you choose. If you find yourself needing further assistance, our courses also put you in contact with virtual instructors who can provide the subject matter expertise to help you get on track!

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