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Brain and Puzzle

How Do I Know What to Study For a Test?

During your last two classes, your professor said those dreaded words, "You have a test next week".  There are few words more dreaded in the life of a student.  You sit down to study but there's so much!  How is anyone supposed to know all of this content for the test?!?!?  

Do you wish you had a way to know exactly what the instructor wants you to know on the test?  GOOD NEWS!  You do have a way!  You've had it since the first day of class!  

Course and Unit Objectives

You’ve probably heard the word “objective” before, but you may not know what an objective is or how important objectives are to your college success. Objectives in a college class are the goals and targets of learning.  For example, each course here at OCCC has course objectives.  These are written so that everyone knows exactly what professors will teach and students will learn in each course. Sometimes there are unit objectives or even lesson objectives.

The course objectives are often a good outline of what to study for a comprehensive final exam, if the course has one. 

The unit objectives are a great way to know exactly what you need to be able to know and/or do on each unit exam. The unit objectives tell you what you will be tested over as well as how you will be tested.  

The Verbs are Important!

Look at the verbs in the objectives.  They will tell you how you will demonstrate that you know the material. For example, if the objective says “define,” that tells you that you should study the definition.  If the objective says “list,” then you know you will write items out in list form. Or, if the objective says, “Draw and label,” you know that when you study, you should practice drawing and labeling the parts.  Looking at the verbs and studying accordingly will not only help you hit the target, but it gets you closer to a bulls-eye!

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Once you have determined what you need to know, now you can study the correct material in the right way.  Review your notes daily, within 24 hours of class if possible.  Study daily, not just the day before the test.  Use labs on campus.  Find a study partner. Make practice quizzes and exams. Use study tools like Quizlet and StudyBlue

Learning can be a challenge, but it can also be fun.  And, it will for sure be rewarding!

Looking for More Help with Understanding What to Study or Objectives?  

We're Here to Help You! 

The VLC has multiple resources and opportunities available to provide assistance to you. 

  • Study Hacks - Do you wish that someone could help you look at things and see how you could spend your time more efficiently and get better results?  Contact the VLC to schedule a time that works best with you! During that time you'll visit with a team member who can help you see if you might be able to spend less time and still improve your grade!
  • Tech Support -Do you have the tech blues?  Contact the VLC for some help. 
  • Note Taking - Is taking notes in class hard for you?  Do you wish you could capture all that is being said in class in a way that makes sense when you get home to study?  Check out Cornell notes! Come to a session or come in and visit with a team member to get started. 
  • Test Anxiety - Does taking tests stress you out?  Do the questions seem tricky and hard to understand? We have some resources available to help you!
  • Reading a College Textbook - How to plow through the material and make sense of it all.
  • Organizing Strategies to De-Stress Your Days