How To Study for a History Test

It's the night before your history test and you need to study. What's the best approach? Here are some tips and suggestions to help you ace your next history test.

Step 1

Come up with a list of terms. If your teacher didn't give you a list of terms or definitions to study, come up with your own list. It may be a long one, but go through your notes and your text and write down important words and concepts. These will help you to study since exposure promotes familiarity and that's what you need to be able to explain a historical term or concept.

Step 2

Understand the definitions. When you begin to study for your history test, there will probably be a few words that you don't quite understand. Rather than simply memorizing definitions for your history test, a better solution is to try to understand what these words mean. You need to be able to recognize the meaning of these words in context, so write out definitions in your own words. Then try to write out a few paragraphs that use up all of your words and make sense. If you can do this, you'll have a better understanding of the terms when you come across them on your history test.

Step 3

Know your learning style. Not everyone benefits from the same style of learning or studying. So when you need to study major events for your history test, take a moment to determine what type of learner you are.

If you are a visual learner, you learn best by seeing words and concepts in front of you. So your best approaching to studying for your history test is to write, write, write. Draw yourself pictures to illustrate historical concepts like past wars or leadership hierarchies. Read through your notes and picture the words on the page. This will help you to cement the knowledge into your memory. You'll likely end up with a long list of study notes, but the more you write down, the more information you'll retain and the better you'll do on your history test as a visual learner.

If you are an auditory learner, you do best when you hear concepts aloud. For you, reading helps you absorb very little information but hearing helps you remember lots! The best approach for auditory learners is to study for a history exam using audio notes. This means that you'll first need to read through your notebook or history textbook, recording any important historical terms, events and concepts onto a recording device like a tape recorder or your computer's sound recorder. Then, play back the recorder over and over again until the information for your history test starts to stick. (Save it to your iPod and wear it around school before your history test begins - no one will ever know that you're studying!)

If you are a tactile learner, you learn best when you can physically experience concepts. This means you like to have something in your hand to help drive a historical concept into your long-term memory. To help you study for your history test, make flashcards with questions and answers on the front / back. Use small figurines to play out little historical scenarios so that you can visualize what happened so many years ago. And use cue cards cut in two to match words to their definitions. Tactile movements will help you retain more information than simply reading or listening alone. So as a tactile learner, this is your best approach when it comes time to study for your history test.


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