Make your homework and weekly practice count. 

TIPS:

  • Don’t take shortcuts. Looking up answers or guessing until you get an answer right doesn’t actually teach you the material.  Actively engaging with information for comprehension is what makes homework effective.
  • Approach problem sets as chances to study for exams. Try to focus your attention and learning on the types of problems and ideas being presented.  Do not try to memorize individual problems or questions.  
  • Practice identifying the concepts you’ll be tested on. Every problem/question is an example of a concept the instructor wants to make sure you know. Try to think about homework from that perspective.  In doing so, you'll get a sense of how problems are designed and how they relate to the larger concepts in the course.
  • Mix up problems from different chapters and parts of the term. This mixing increases retention and retrieval (Roediger, 2013).
  • Work toward comprehension.  If you’re struggling to understand how to do a problem or answer a question, revisit the text and read through the information again. If it still doesn’t make sense, ask a peer, friend, or your instructor for guidance.
  • If there aren’t enough practice problems or questions, make up your own problems and questions.  One of the best ways to prepare for tests is to try to anticipate possible problems or questions and then answer them.
  • Focus on homework regularly.  Take time each week to complete homework.  Nothing makes homework harder than the panic of needing to do it at the last minute. By monitoring homework and keeping up with it throughout the term, you can avoid anxiety and continually monitor your progress in the course.
  • Overlearn the material. Overlearning means you know the information and how to do a problem so thoroughly that you can retrieve it quickly even during a stressful exam.

Curious about why the above tips matter, and what they help you to do? Check this tidbit out.