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- by dammy okoro CEO theinboundstrategy

Science classes can be very challenging for a lot of students. Exams tend to focus on a wide degree of material from vocabulary, applications and problems. Science tests sometimes have a practical component, such as lab or identification section. While the subject material may vary by class, there are some helpful pointers for studying for a science exam.

  1. Know the test format and subject material. This is the best place to start, as you don't want to study things that won't be covered on the exam.
  • This will help you frame your studying so you can gather all relevant readings, notes, handouts, and labs.
  • This will also help you decide how much time you need to allot to studying for the exam.
  • Knowing the format of the exam will help you know what techniques would be best to study for the exam. For example, if the test is a practical exam you will know you need to spend time during labs making sure you understand the material.
  • If it's a written exam, it may focus on vocabulary, processes, and problems so you should spend time practicing these.


  1. Set aside a specific place to study. Your study area should be quiet and free of distractions.
  • Your study area should have good lighting, ventilation, a comfortable chair (but not too comfortable), and a space large enough to spread out your materials.
  • Avoid areas that are distracting. Your area should be free of a telephone, stereo or television, and friends/roommates.

      3. Set aside a specific time to study. Do this by dividing your work into small range goals.

  • Try to study in one hour intervals with short breaks in between.
  • The average person can pay attention for approximately 45 minutes, so spend that amount of time preparing for your test and the last 15 minutes of your hour reviewing what you have just studied.


  1. Make sure you are well-rested. You will retain material better if you have enough sleep.
  • Seven to eight hours of sleep per night is ideal for adults.
  • While it is tempting to cram for an exam or pull an all-nighter, you will retain information more efficiently if you budget your time and get enough rest.
  • Set a time to go to bed and wake up and stick to it.



Part I: Preparing To Study

Method Two of Three:

Part II: Taking and Studying Notes

      1. Use the Cornell System when taking notes. This is a method of note-taking that takes a "do it once" approach.

  • Use a large, loose leaf notebook. Only write on one side of the paper, so you can spread your notes out in a map later.
  • Draw a line 2.5 inches from the left side of your paper. This area will be the recall column, where you can add terms and notes for studying.
  • During lecture take notes about general ideas, skip lines to show the ends of concepts, use abbreviations to save time, and write legibly.
  • After lecture, review your notes and use the recall column to dot down ideas and key words that are easy for you to recall. When studying, you can use these as your study guide.

  1. Think about what questions your teacher might ask you. Teachers usually emphasize many things they have discussed in class, and these things usually appear in tests.
  • Pay attention to large topics covered in class.
  • If your teacher has provided a study guide, you will need to review notes about each of the topics on the guide.
  • Think about what kinds of questions where on previous exams. What kinds of problems, essays, or vocabulary questions were asked?

  1. Use your recall column or sub-notes to study. These will help you recall important concepts and keywords.
  • Start with material you want to learn best.
  • Begin with larger general ideas and boil them down into more detailed aspects.
  • While reviewing, make note of any discrepancies in your notes or any questions you have. Address these with your teacher before your exam.

      4. Use your notes to make a flow chart or concept map. These can help show the direction of a collection of steps or related concepts.

  • Sometimes it helps to organize your ideas visually.
  • For questions where you have to outline a process, a flow chart is a good tool to use.
  • If you think you might be asked compare/contrast questions, a Venn diagram can help you outline the similarities and differences between two concepts.

  1. Highlight any important vocabulary terms. You will need to know meanings of scientific terminology for a science exam.
  • Make flash cards to help you recall these.
  • Have a science dictionary handy to look up words you don't remember and don't have in your notes.
  • You can study vocabulary using your flash cards or notes when you have a spare 15 minutes. Waiting at the doctor’s office or for the bus, for example, is a good time where you can study these.

  1. Think of applications of the material. Relate what you learn to practical daily life and what you already know.
  • Science is a very practical subject with many areas of practical applications.
  • Making such connections will make the material relevant to you and easier to recall.
  • This can be a very personalized way for you to remember material if you can relate the subject to your own personal interests.


Part II: Taking and Studying Notes

Method Three of Three:

Part III: Reading and Studying from Your Textbook

  1. Read your textbook or articles using the survey method. This allows you to quickly assess what is in the chapter or article and what information is most important.
  • Read the title first to help your mind prepare for the subject.
  • Read the introduction or summary. Focus on the author's statement of the most important points.
  • Notice each boldface heading and subheading. These help you break up the information into important subtopics.
  • Notice any graphics. These should not be overlooked. Many times, pictures or charts can be replicated for your notes and can be handy tools for recalling information.
  • Notice reading aids. These are bold faced type, italics, and end of chapter questions. These will show you what points are emphasized in the chapter and can help you recognize keywords and key concepts.


  1. Make reading questions. Turn the boldfaced heading of each section of a chapter into as many questions as you think will be address in that section.
  • The better your questions, the better your comprehension of the material will be.
  • When your mind is actively searching for answers to your questions, you will comprehend and retain the information you are reading more effectively.

  1. Read each section carefully. Keep your questions in mind as you go along.
  • Look for the answers of your questions in the text and make notes of your answers in a notebook.
  • If you are finding that your questions aren't answered, make new ones and re-read the section again.

  1. Stop and recall your questions and answers. You should do this after each time you finish re-reading a section of your textbook chapter.
  • Reciting concepts, ideas, and answers to your own questions enhances your comprehension of the materials.
  • See if you can answer the questions you made from memory. If not, refer back to the text. Repeat until you can recall the answers to your review questions.

  1. Review the chapter. See if you can answer all the review questions you made for the chapter.
  • If you can't remember all the answers to the questions you made, then go back and find the answers and review that section again.
  • Go over your questions several times at the end of a chapter for reinforcement.

  1. Do any practice problems that are in your book chapters. You may encounter math/science related problems on your exam.
  • Textbooks often provide very good practice problems to work through. They usually have an answer key in the back so you can check your answers.
  • Chances are if there are detailed problems and answers in your textbook, you are likely to encounter similar questions on your exam.
  • Compare the problems with those your teacher has provided on worksheets or in notes. See if there are any differences in how problems are phrased or written between your textbook and other materials.

  1. 7. Highlight any important vocabulary. You may have to know keywords for your test.
  • Make flashcards with science words and definitions. You can practice these when you have a free 15 minutes.
  • Make sure your textbook and notes match for the correct definition of vocabulary terms.
  • Ask your teacher for clarification if you don't understand a term.


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Last modified on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 19:56

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