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Studying & Test Taking

What to Study?

Knowing what to study is a common challenge that students face.

While it may feel like you have to re-read your textbook or memorize all of your lecture notes, there are few tricks you can use to get a better sense of what your test, midterm, or exam will cover—and you can make your life much easier.

How to Decide What to Study

Watch this video to learn strategies you can use to decide what to study and what to study first.

How to Use the Stoplight Technique

Watch this video to learn how to use the Stoplight Study Technique to prioritize your study material.

Tips to Help You Study Better

Check out the following sources to figure out which areas you should focus on while studying:

  • Learning Outcomes: Check your course outline to find the learning outcomes for your class. Learning outcomes describe the knowledge or skills students should have by the end of the class, so chances are good you'll be tested on those topics.
  • Class or lecture outcomes: Every lesson is designed to meet the learning outcomes of the course. Look for hints in lecture slides like "By the end of today's lesson you will..." or "Today we'll be discussing..."
  • Test reviews: Your professor may designate some class time to review topics that will be covered on a test—that's a class you don't want to skip!
  • Textbooks: Look for chapter overviews that highlight the key points covered in each chapter. Compare these overviews to your class notes—did your professor focus on specific topics in class and give less time to cover other areas? Chapter overviews are also great tools for creating study guides.