So as many of you know, the dreaded reign of terror that is exams is once again upon us. I thought it would be fun, or at least helpful, to offer some of my favorite tips for studying and taking exams.
1. Start studying a few days before. I know that they say two to three weeks in advance, but I honestly can never make myself do that, but I do give myself at least four days of studying in advance for each final.
2. Make study guides. I am serious! Nothing will help you study like making the study guide yourself. While it may be tempting to borrow your older siblings, consult the interweb, or use a friend’s, the benefits will not be nearly as significant.
3. Focus on subjects in blocks of thirty minutes or an hour. Study subjects in increments and change the subject you are studying a few times to allow the information to sink in before revisiting it again. So, for example, study English for an hour, take a short break, and then do an hour of World History revision; you could then return to English or tackle that Chemistry review sheet. Take study breaks to give yourself a chance to relax and let your brain have a break by watching a YouTube video or an episode of your favorite TV show on Netflix.
4. Make time for fun. If you don’t do something enjoyable throughout the course of pre-exam stress and during the week of exams, you’ll implode. Grab coffee with a best friend, read the book you’ve been dying to get your hands on, go bowling, do anything that will help you release tension and have fun.
5. Repetition, repetition equals perfection. This was the old motto of my Spanish teacher. He was entirely correct too! Studies show that you must say/read/write something 28 times before it is engrained in your long-term memory.
6. Sleep! Before exams begin and during exam week, you have to try and get at least eight hours a night in order to function properly. Sleep deprivation will do nothing to help you and will instead hurt your physical health and your memory.
7. Cramming does nothing. Remember this! Cramming only shoves facts into your short-term memory, which can hold about ten things at most. It is important to study incrementally to maximize your brain power.
8. Study with people who are smarter than you. Now, it may be more fun to study with your best friend, but find someone who is more capable in a subject you struggle in and you can help them in an area that they fall down in.
9. Study away from home. Head to your local book store, coffee shop, library, park, anything. Getting away from the distractions of home will help to improve your focus and make you more productive.
10. Remember that exams are just a test. I know that they feel like the end of the world and are usually worth a lot and can make or break your grades, but try to remember that while grades are important, they don’t define who you are. “It is our choices, far moe than our abilities, that show who we really are.”
11. Do what works for you. If rereading the textbook helps you more than doing a dozen worksheets, do it. If you need to have musci playing in the background while studying, make it so. Everyone has individual preferences and methods that work better for them while trying to get through exam studying.
12. Color code! This is one of my favorite tricks because it helps to keep my focus on the subject and keeps me organized.
13. Recopy notes. You’d be surprised how much hand-writing information helps you to retain it.
14. Index cards are your best friend. Make flashcards! They will save you! You can go out to the mall or to dinner and whenever you have a spare minute or two, pull them from your back pocket or purse and run through them a few times.
15. Keep distractions away. Don’t study in noisy places, or if you have no choice, use headphones or earplugs to drown out the noise. Try not to turn on the television or scroll through texts and Twitter when study. All it does is break your concentration.
I hope you all found some of these to be helpful! Good luck, loves!