Pop quizzes. Pretty much the bane of my existence, in at least my history class, in which we get many about anything and everything discussed in class. The worst letter grade of my year has been earned in that class, precisely because of those few-question assessments in which remembering one little fact could be the difference between twenty points. It makes my life more difficult and causes me enormous amounts of stress, but the looming thought of those undesirable surprises effectively forces me to review my notes every night like the teacher had implored us to do from the very beginning. Extra studying may not seem like the most pleasant or time-saving idea, but in reality, it will aid your remembrance and keep you from having to cram for hours the night before a larger test.
I’ve been working on ways to improve on the grades I get on pop quizzes lately, for the number of them has been dramatically increasing to multiple a week, and have discovered tricks that have greatly helped me in that area and have produced an overall better student out of me. So sharpen your pencils, take out some paper and start taking notes, because the following are a few tips for handling those unwanted exercises:
1. Review Your Notes Every Night
This may seem boring, which, I have to admit, it is, and useless, which it isn’t. Studying your notes, worksheets, homework, or textbook for only ten minutes every night causes you to more easily remember information and will better prepare you for class and any assessments you did not know about or prepare for specifically in advance. Even if it is not the most fun activity, wouldn’t you rather have studied for a measly ten minutes and got an A than watched television instead and gotten an F?
2. Actively Study
By active, I do not mean to study while running or doing push-ups. I actually strongly advise against that. Whenever you study, make sure your brain is fully processing everything you read; do not just scan over a page without comprehending anything on it. Study in a quiet area and read through the textbook, make flashcards on index cards or online, or do extra problems or questions about the material. Do not watch television while studying, because it will distract you and you will not remember what you were “kind of” studying while preoccupied with Netflix.
3. Make flashcards
Personally, I like to make flashcards, because they are portable and easy to use. Instead of wasting tons of paper and money on buying hundreds of index cards, I usually make online flashcards with sites like Quizlet or StudyBlue. Not only are these websites great ways to make and study your own material with games and other techniques, but on them, you can also find sets other people have already created to study on the go or in a time-crunch.
4. Stay organized
How can you study your notes if you cannot unearth them from piles of papers? Keep all of your material- tests, assessments, homework, worksheets, notes, and other classwork from that specific subject- in a neat binder or folder so that you can easily locate what you need.
5. Pay attention in class
I’ve observed through experience that I remember class information better and easier when I listen to the teacher and pay attention to the class. Oftentimes, although not always, he or she is standing in front of you for a reason, and what they say will be easier to understand than any textbook you read. They also have experience with past classes, so that they know effective ways to study and teach you and your peers. Also, the information spouting from their mouths at a sometimes-rapid pace is usually what will be on your next assignment or pop quiz, so paying attention will give you a leg-up on the material you need to know.
6. Do all of your assignments
Doing all classwork and homework can increase what you remember so that you won’t have as much trouble studying for a bigger test or acing smaller pop quizzes. Usually, pop quizzes are only on a specific topic, something you’ve learned recently in class or were supposed to read for research for homework. Paying attention and doing all assignments are two of the most important concepts involved in being prepared for a surprise assessment. Also, if you have trouble but had finished all the homework before it, your grade will not decrease as much because the other small grades are supporting it.
7. Do not freak out
Whenever I hear my World Civilization teacher’s voice say, “Put you books away, it’s time for another pop quiz!” I immediately start panicking and flipping through my notebook as fast as I can, trying to soak up all the knowledge I can in the time it takes him to walk to this side of the room from his desk ten feet away. I’ve realized that stressing out about the assessment right before it happens muddles my mind and causes me to forget all the information I’ve been trying to squeeze into my brain. Do not flip out before any assignment or test; stay calm and collected, because it will be easier for you to clearly think you way through the questions and remember the answer. Working yourself up just confuses your thoughts, which I’ve learned the hard way. If you’ve completed all the steps preceding this, you won’t have any issues with this grade; even if you do, it is only one little quiz grade in a sea of better ones.
Pop quizzes. They are blessings and curses. They cause me stress and anxiety, and can bring my grade down immensely, but push me to be a better student and aid me in remembering topics for when there’s a bigger exam in the future. Just remember to be the fantastic student I know you can be, do your best, and do not stress yourself out over one small quiz. Stay calm, and remember, getting a bad grade is not always the end of the world.
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