The Academic Success Center

Wilson Hall, Suite 1100
371 Wilson Blvd
Rochester , MI 48309-4454
(location map)
(248) 370-4215

Studying and Test-Taking

This section provides information about how to prepare for a test, from starting the studying process to test day.

What are the best ways to study?

When you sit down to study, what do you actually do? If you take out a highlighter or underline sentences that seem key, you’re not getting the most out of your study time. There are some simple actions to add or replace that will make sure you really know the material. You can also learn more about study techniques through our academic coaching.

How often should I study?

In a popular study on the most effective ways to remember what you learned, the top two were practice-testing and distributed practice, which means practicing a little bit often and over time. A little bit goes a long way — even 15 minutes a couple of times a week. Not only does the active time help your brain make the connections required for learning, but it also ignites unconscious learning. In other words, your brain continues learning that material even when you’re not paying attention to it. Now that’s smart!

Even if your schedule is tight and you have a ton of classwork up until Study Day, review learning tips that any of us can take advantage of using over time.

How should I prepare for a test?

The best test preparation starts weeks before the test takes place. The more time you spend preparing in advance, the more confident you can be going into your exam. Check out the resources below for additional support for your test preparation.

  • Tutoring is a free service available in many 100-200 level subjects to all enrolled Oakland University students. Visit the Peer Tutoring page to see if tutoring is available for your class.
  • Attend Supplemental Instruction (SI): SI is a program that provides organized study sessions two to three times a week for students enrolled in traditionally difficult courses. View our Supplemental Instruction webpage to see if SI is attached to your class.
  • If you need additional assistance with studying, time management, or other test prep tips, the Tutoring Center offers Academic Coaching, where you can meet one on one with a coach and come up with a plan to help you succeed. The service is offered for any Oakland University student. View our Academic Coaching page to learn how to schedule an appointment, or visit drop-in hours.

See our Productivity section for apps that can help you to focus, and our Studying section for apps that can help with practicing your test-taking skills.

What if I have text anxiety?

Experiencing feelings of anticipation and nervousness before an exam is common and expected. As you master effective study techniques, you will feel progressively more confident and less anxious - academic coaching can also help you achieve this.

When anxiety is severe, working with a mental health counselor can help you better understand your thoughts and learn strategies to ease anxious feelings. Students can meet one-on-one with a counselor in the OU Counseling Center at no cost. You can also find more information about test anxiety using OU's test anxiety webpage resources.

Are there websites and apps that can help me study?

Quizlet - Website/App that allows you to test your knowledge on different subjects through flashcards. According to their website, “The more you practice recalling a piece of information or retrieving it from memory, the more likely you are to remember it later on. This psychological finding explains why it’s so much more effective to study with flashcards or by taking a practice test than it is to look over your notes until you feel like you know them. Getting feedback enhances the effect further. Quizlet’s study tools are designed to help you maximize the benefits of retrieval practice. Keep practicing retrieval, even after you get a question right the first time!”

OER Commons - Website with free access to hundreds of textbooks and other course materials on many topics (math, science and others) which you can use to find supplemental course materials to read in addition to your own textbook. Think of it as a searchable database full of free resources.

Khan Academy —Provides hundreds of helpful videos and practice questions on Math, science, economics, computing, humanities and arts, and reading and language arts. 

Just Math Videos -  Math video tutorials

Paul’s Online Math Notes - Math notes, tutorials and review questions.

How can I prepare for final exams?

Approaching the end of the semester? Check out this helpful resource with 5 tips on preparing for final exams