How To Study Like An A+ Student

You’re probably here because you’ve pulled the dreaded night-before-the-test all-nighter at least once in your life. You brave, sleepless scholar! It happens to the best of us. We know the struggle, and the struggle is pretty darn exhausting.

In true Aceable fashion, we’re always about making life easier and helping students level up. With that in mind, we’re sharing some science-backed tips for studying so that you remember and retain information for any test you take - whether it’s a driving test ( we’ve got you! ) or the prepping for the SAT.

14 Tips to Study Like An A+ Student

1. Take a practice test . . . or 10.

Science has revealed that the absolute best study method is practice tests. Not only does it help you retain information and improve memory better than reading, but it also helps you mentally prepare for what it will be like during the actual test. We know this is the best way to study, which is why Aceable gives you free learners permit practice tests. We’ve got practice tests for every state!

2. Study before you sleep.

Getting a good night’s rest is always recommended before a driving test, but it’s a good idea to add a short study session to your bedtime routine. Why? Our brains strengthen new memories while we sleep, so this can be a great time to reinforce everything you’ve learned about the rules of the road. Do a quick refresh of the material you’ve learned that day or just take some note cards to bed and run through vocab.

3. Don’t cram all of your studying into one night.

Research shows that it’s much harder for your brain to retain information after 25-30 minutes of studying. Maybe that’s why most states limit behind the wheel training to just two hours a day. Space your study sessions out over a few weeks by breaking up the material into small sections. Luckily, the Aceable app makes it easy to cover sections of the drivers ed course one topic at a time.

4. Aim for recollection not recognition.

Quiz yourself often with the goal of recollection, not recognition. Recognition means that you need a trigger (aka a hint) for you to remember something. Multiple choice questions are great for recognition, but don’t let yourself depend on chance - the answers might not contain choices you recognize exactly. Study with the aim of recalling information organically so that you know the answer without seeing it.

5. Write it out the old school way.

Research suggests that we retain information better when we write it out by hand. When you take handwritten notes, you have to be more selective about what you’re writing down (because you can’t write as fast as you can type). This means your brain is working harder to listen, understand and process the information you’re hearing during class. Try it out when you watch a video tutorial in the Aceable app. As you watch take notes by hand to reinforce what you learn.

6. Reward yourself.

Most people look at studying as strictly work. It’s a necessary evil to pass a class or get your drivers license. But you can train your brain to associate studying, information retention and recollection with positive emotions. How? Give yourself rewards and treats for completing studying milestones. Of course, the ultimate reward will be acing your test!

7. Eat brain-healthy foods.

Eating behind the wheel is a distraction, but snacking while you study could be beneficial. But you have to put the chips away and start snacking on foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have tons of brain-boosting benefits. Good options include fatty fish like salmon, nuts and olive oil.

8. Stay away from all-nighters.

Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is the time when your brain and body repairs itself. If you take this important healing mechanism away, your brain function will suffer. Lack of adequate sleep will affect your ability to focus, you’ll have a shorter attention span and will have difficulty recalling memories. It can have a negative effect on whether you are taking the written test or the driving test to get a license.

9. Take regular study breaks.

Your brain is like any other muscle - it needs rest in between sets! Taking regular study breaks will help improve your focus and keep you from burning out.

10. Use the web.

Don’t just rely on the textbook or class notes. Use the Internet to your advantage and do some extra reading on the subject, or better yet, watch some how-to videos. Sometimes, having additional context can help you understand the problem or subject better, especially when you’re learning how to operate a vehicle.

11. Have a good study environment.

Where you study is just as important as how you study. An ideal study environment is one with few distractions where noise levels are low and consistent. The more space makes you feel peaceful and focused the better. Learning apps give you the benefit of being able to study virtually anywhere just like a book.

12. Make your notes work for you.

Adapt the material and your note-taking to your specific learning style. Some people are more visual, while others learn better through listening. Whatever your specific learning style is, adapt the class material to fit that need, whether it’s looking at things in chart form or listening to audio recordings of class notes.

13. Use tech to your advantage.

There are tons of websites, apps and software to help you out. For example, Aceable offers hassle-free, certified drivers ed courses that you can take on your phone. Kaplan offers online and in-person test prep courses, and guarantees you'll get a better test score or you get your money back. Use coupon code ACE50 for $50 off Kaplan's Self-Pace program or ACE150 for $150 off larger packages. You don’t have to do this alone!

14. Try to teach it to someone else.

You’ve probably spent hours in the car with a parent in the passenger seat giving you instructions. Next training session, flip the script and try being the instructor. Give your parent directions on what to do and explain how things work as you go. If they understand what you’re teaching them, then you know you own it!

Krista Doyle