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Mental Process in Preparing for a Test

by Ron Kurtus (revised 1 July 2011)

Before you start to study for a test, you usually perform a sub­conscious evaluation of your motivation and expectations. This often determines how hard and how well you will study.

Most people use a specific mental process in preparing for a test. For your own enlightenment, it is good to know this process.

Preparation of the test then consists of refreshing your memory of material learned and then getting mentally or emotionally prepared to take the test.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.



Mental process

It is useful to take a look at the mental process involved in preparing for a test.

  1. When a test is coming up, you subconsciously evaluate:
    1. How important getting a good grade is to you
    2. How well you know the subject matter and how well you can do in tests
    3. How difficult you expect the test to be and what material the teacher will most likely cover in the test
  2. Then you prepare for the test:
    1. Refresh your memory by studying
    2. Refresh your body and brain for alertness, endurance and such
    3. Establish the proper mental state, such as being psyched up and ready to perform
  3. Finally, you take the test, executing your preparations

Subconscious evaluations

When you realize that a test is coming up and you have to study for it, you subconsciously go through some evaluations that will determine your motivation for that studying.

Importance of grade

You consider how important getting a good grade is, as opposed to the work required to study. Some students just don't care if they get a good grade or not. Others are trying to upset their parents or the teacher by actually wanting to get a bad grade.

If getting a good grade is important, you are motivated to study.

Knowledge level

You consider how well you know the subject and how well you usually do in tests.

If you are confident of your abilities, you will tend to study more. If you are not confident, you may both be anxious and not study effectively, or you may simply give up. On the other hand, if you are overconfident, you also may not bother to study, because you feel you can fake your way through the test.

Have sufficient knowledge and confidence that you don't go to one extreme or the other.

Difficulty of material

A third evaluation you usually make is how difficult you expect the test to be. This is a combination of the subject matter and your knowledge of the type of tests the teacher gives.

Combining your motivation of getting a good grade, your knowledge level and the expected difficulty of the test provides a good criteria for the level of studying you need to do.

Preparing for test

In preparing for a test, you refresh your memory by studying, refresh your body and brain for alertness and endurance and establish the proper mental state for taking the test. Refresh memory

Studying for a test is simply refreshing your memory by reviewing the material. This is not the time to start going over new material or trying to solve problems that should have been previously done.

A good way to refresh your memory is to write down key words that will spark your recollection.

Refresh body and mind

Since a test is so important to your grade, you should be prepared with an alert brain and body. Party time is after the test, not before. Get some light exercise and a good night's sleep before the test.

Sometimes getting rest the night before is difficult if you have to cram for the test. But if you prepare properly, you should not have to spend the whole night studying.

Refresh mental state

Come into the test with confidence and a positive attitude. Know the material and be in a mental state of being ready to get that "A" on this test.

Summary

Before you study for a test, you usually go through subconscious evaluations that determine your motivation and amount of studying needed. Then, when you do study for the test, it should simply be a form of refreshing your memory and mental state. Also refresh your body and brain before the test.


Prepare to succeed


Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials

Websites

Good Grades Resources

Books

Top-rated books on Study Skills

Top-rated books on Taking Tests in School

Top-rated books on Getting Good Grades


Questions and comments

If you have questions, comments, or opinions on this subject, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


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