How to Study for a Test, Quiz, or Exam

How to Study for Any Test

SAT Subject Tests
Getty Images | Michelle Joyce

Learning how to study for a test is one sure way to improve your grades. Whether your upcoming test is tomorrow or in two months, whether it's the ACT or a multiple choice quiz, whether you have a personalized study room or a piece of the kitchen table, there are several ways to improve your study habits and better your chances for success.

Improving your chances on that test could be as simple as setting up your workspace, or using tried and true techniques for approaching a standardized exam like ACT or Revised GRE.

This article summarizes some of the most effective study tips and hacks, so you can cram effectively. Explore the links on the left to discover your individual learning style, create a study space that works for you, and create a long-term plan for better grades. 

Determining Your Learning Style

Educational theorists have discovered something you might already know: people learn in different ways. There are multiple kinds of intelligence—from verbal and visual abilities to sports to music appreciation—and so as a result, there are also multiple styles of learning that you can use to leverage your skills and improve your study habits and successes.

Are you a tactile learner—do you learn best by doing? The tactile style is best for kinesthetic learners who learn and remember information better if they experience the tasks.

If instead, you are a visual learner, you prefer to pick up information by reading a textbook; and auditory learners are people who retain more information when they hear it or can set it to music.

Still not sure? Take our short learning style quiz to identify your best environment and tailor your habits to fit

Great Study Habits and Skills

It's never too late to learn great study habits, and if you want to improve your grades and school performance, you might want to start with learning new note-taking styles and conquering procrastination. Making healthy changes to your homework habits, reading skills, and study partners can help as well.

Need some tips tailored for middle school students? Students who start sooner to get organized and use a planner to improve study habits can lay a solid foundation for future success. Lose that highlighter and those other bad habits and you'll see things improve.

Setting Up Your Study Space

Students study differently, and what works for your best friend or sister might not work for you. Are you vulnerable to noise or energized and focused by background music? Do you need to take breaks or do you work best sitting quietly for hours at a time? Do you study better in a group or by yourself? Those and other issues can help you create a study space that works for you.

Not everyone has a study space that they can set aside and claim for their own. So, we've assembled some tips to help you find a working space in cramped quarters.

How to Study for Different Kinds of Tests

No one ever said that studying for a test was fun, especially when there are so many other things piquing your interest in school. But, when it comes down to it, knowing how to study by the type of test you have can help you achieve the grades, impress your parents, and ultimately, get you the GPA that you really deserve.

To help out, we've assembled methods that can get you prepared for your multiple-choice tests or vocabulary quizzes. There are also some tips for those who are facing college mid-term and final exams.

Studying for Standardized Tests

If you're planning to start college in the next year or so, you may be considering taking both the SAT and ACT: whether you do that or not depends on your personal situation.

Once you've decided, there are different techniques tailored for you, whether you're taking the SAT or the ACT. If you're finishing up your undergraduate degree and headed toward graduate school, you'll need to prepare for the GRE. And if a law degree is in your future, get ready for the LSAT.