Dear American Girl,

I've always had problems with tests. Whenever I sit down to take one, all of the things I studied just drain out of my head! Does anyone have any studying tips that'll help me keep information in my brain?
-Test trouble

Here's your advice:

Start studying as soon as you find out about a test. Or review the information throughout the unit. As my teacher says, "The best time to begin studying for a test is now."
-Jocelyn, age 9, Washington

Review for the test the night before and study a little the next day, too. You could look at your notes while eating breakfast, during your bus ride, or at a study hall.
-Megan, age 12, Massachusetts

It might not be studying that's the problem—it could be nervousness. Right before a test, think about something that makes you feel relaxed.
-Emily, age 10, Arkansas

Draw a picture or write a story about what you're learning. It's fun, and it can help you learn the information.
-Alyssa, age 11, New Jersey

Come up with a phrase that you can say in your head as you take a test, such as, I can do this! or You studied hard and you're trying your best.
-Anna, age 13, Vermont

I worry about tests, too, so my teacher shared this tip with me: If you feel anxious, breathe deeply three times and clench your fists. Let go, and your body and mind will relax.
-Fate, age 12, California

Try to connect studying with things you love to do. If you're a singer, make up a song using the facts. If you have a passion for acting, think of the test as a script and memorize your "lines."
-Nicole, age 11, Massachusetts

Each time you have a test coming up, study in a different way. Review the material with a friend, use flash cards, or study the information in chunks and take breaks. That way, you will discover the techniques that work best for you.
-Grace, age 12, Ohio

If you're feeling too jittery, you won't be able to concentrate. Do something soothing the night before the test. Give yourself a pedicure, read a favorite magazine, or do anything else that makes you feel good.
-Alana, age 13, Massachusetts

Think of a test as a regular worksheet. After all, it's only a little more important. Come up with rhymes that can help you remember facts. If it's a multiple-choice test, try to eliminate answers before choosing the final one. Good luck!
-Sarah, age 10, California

Don't do all of your studying the day before a test. Instead, study a bit each night so that taking the test won't be so overwhelming.
-Emily, age 12, Delaware

When you sit down to take a test, look carefully at the questions before answering them. If you give your brain a second to catch up, the information might come back to you. Remember, if you can't figure out a question, it's OK to go back to it later.
-Anna, age 10, Maryland

A great way to make sure you understand the material is to explain it to a friend or family member. Ask that person if you can "teach" the facts to her. It's a creative way to test your knowledge.
-Lindsey, age 12, Georgia

Maybe your brain is just cluttered. If you have too many thoughts going through your mind, you won't be focusing on the information you studied. Try your best to think about the test and nothing else.
-Hailey, age 9, Maryland

If you continue to have problems with tests, ask your teacher to help you.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Canada

The night before the test, ask a friend or family member to quiz you. Get a good night's sleep, too. The next morning, eat a healthy breakfast. When you take the test, stay calm. And remember, it's not the end of the world if you don't get a perfect score.
-Ella, age 10, Michigan

Past Help from You
School Smarts
Family Matters
The Care and Keeping of Friends
The Care and Keeping of You
I'm Scared
More Advice From You