Preparing for an exam is stressful enough without any confusion over academic terminology. So concentrate on your coursework and let this custom-made entry be your guide to school vocabulary about studying.
to scan – to read, without close attention, for general themes
- Headlines help you to scan a newspaper quickly and still get an idea of the day’s major stories.
to skim – to read lightly for main ideas but not specific detail
- I didn’t have a lot of time to study last night so I just skimmed the finally chapter. I hope the test doesn’t ask too many questions from that section of the book!
Note: A closely related expression, “to get the gist,” is what results from skimming something: a general, if not detailed, idea about a situation.
to read aloud – to say the words while reading them so that others can
- Students sometimes take turns reading aloud while in class.
Note: This expression is also written (and said) as read out loud.
to read silently – to read without speaking
- During Study Hall students often read silently prepare for other classes.
to pour over – to read closely
- Jane is pouring over her notes in preparation for the upcoming exam.
to hit the books – to study hard
- Thank goodness the exam is on a Monday; I can use the weekend to really hit the books.
to learn by heart – to memorize
- When I was in 8th grade I had to learn Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” by heart for my Language Arts class.
Note: Another expression with the same meaning that is used in the UK is to learn by rote although this is almost unheard of in the US.
to pull an all-nighter – to stay up all night studying
- Alex pulled an all-nighter last night and is completely exhausted today.
to push through – to overcome an obstacle (be it mental or physical) in order to accomplish a task
- Alex needed three cups of coffee to help him push through and finish all of his classes today.
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