Hello, friends! As I said in my last post, it’s exam week at my school. This is both a blessing and a curse, because…exams and we get out of school at 11:30 rather than 2:15. That being said, with exams comes a butt load of studying to do.
It’s definitely difficult to reach into the dusty chambers of your mind and pull out information from the beginning of the year. My “study sessions” are more like “When did we learn this?” sessions. But don’t worry! I have some tips on studying, whether that be for exams or other assignments. These are tips that have worked for me over the past couple of years and I find them to be really helpful. Know that your study strategies may be different than mine, but these are some things to try.
Set yourself up for success
Be engaged in your class. Take good notes and keep up on your homework, so you have a good foundation of knowledge.
Start studying 3-4 days before a test
Do you know what’s bad? Cramming. Don’t do it. Start studying a few days before the big test day. If you have a ton of information to look over, break it up into chunks and study a little bit each day. Use the day before the test as a review day.
Come prepared to study
When you sit down to study, have all the materials you could possibly need with you. This includes pens, paper, highlighters, your binder, a text book, etc. You don’t want to have to keep getting up to get something that you’ll need, because it’s distracting.
Set the scene
Study in a quiet place with minimal distractions. It’s helpful to study in an environment similar to the environment in which you will be taking the test, such as a desk or a table. I like studying at the kitchen counter, because I have plenty of space to spread out all of my materials.
Avoid: The floor, your bed, the couch, noisy areas, etc.
My chosen study method: study guide
I find that the best way for me to study is by making a study guide for myself. When I’m in a class, I make sure to take thorough notes of the material so that I can use it later. I look over my notes and try to understand the material. Reading and understanding are integral to learning information. As I go through my notes, I basically re-take notes. I write down what I know I’ll have trouble remembering or the main ideas of a section. Make sure to keep this organized. This method works for me, because it allows me to process the information and apply it to my knowledge. I’ll review each section as I go on and review my study guide the day before the test.
When I take notes, I like to make them fun! I recommend taking notes in colored pens and using highlighters to emphasize the main ideas. If there are extra tid bits you feel you need to add, use a sticky note and attach it to your study guide. This keeps things fresh and will be a lot more interesting to look at when you review your notes.
Take a break
With all of this studying, your brain is going to be tired. Feel free to take a break every 30-45 minutes. I recommend doing something that will relax you, but doesn’t turn your mind off.
Do’s: Eat a snack, go for a walk, exercise, play an instrument, etc.
Don’ts: Watch TV, play on the computer, etc.
Cut the distractions
When you’re studying, it’s important to stay focused. That’s really hard to do when your friend is constantly texting you or the TV is on. Believe me, I’m guilty of getting distracted too. Do yourself a favor and just cut the distractions.
Get plenty of sleep
Consolidation of memory happens when you sleep (Thanks AP Psych!). To have the best performance, it’s important that you get a good night’s sleep before test day. How well do you think you’re going to do if you fall asleep during the test? I’ll let you think on that one.
Eat a healthy breakfast on test day
You’ve done it! You’ve studied your butt off and are ready to kill this test! Start your day off right with a healthy breakfast (I suggest eggs) that will energize your mind and body!
I hope these study tips helped! Feel free to leave any of your tips in the comments!