As classes start to wind down and exam dates creep closer, you might feel especially stressed and overwhelmed. Finding time to finish any remaining coursework and prep for your exams can seem like a tall order, especially if you’re also balancing a busy schedule at work and at home.
Understanding how to study effectively will help you make the most of the time you spend on your schoolwork. With these tips, you’ll be breezing through your exams in no time:
Set time blocks
Designating time blocks for studying is a great way to stay organized and make sure you have enough time to finish everything on your to-do list. You can easily manage your schedule in a planner, and fill out each time slot with the tasks you intend to get done each day. Even a half hour or an hour of studying each day can make a big difference in your exam preparation.
It’s also important to take breaks while you are studying. In fact, research shows that our brains can only learn for so long before we stop absorbing information. While you may be tempted to power through your work all at once, all-nighters often only lead to academic fatigue. Breaking up your workload will help you manage your time wisely and reduce feelings of stress and worry leading up to your exams.
Put your health first
It’s easy to let your personal health suffer when you’re under a lot of stress, but failing to exercise, sleep and eat properly won’t help you be successful on exam day. Make sure you fuel your body with more than just coffee and energy drinks. Healthy, nutrient-rich snacks like oatmeal, blueberries and bananas will help you feel energized throughout the day. It’s equally important to stay hydrated and get an adequate amount of sleep each night. Taking care of yourself physically will not only help you feel better, you’ll perform better academically too.
Find your method
Everyone studies differently, and some methods may work better for some than others. Some students make flashcards or re-write their notes to help memorize important information. Others may use pneumonic devices, such as a formula or a rhyme, to help them remember key concepts. For example, many students use the phrase “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” to remember the order of operations when calculating a math equation. You could also create a study group with your classmates and quiz each other on the material. Over time, you will learn which method benefits you the most.
Use tools and resources
Always take advantage of the tools and resources that are available to you, both on campus and off. You might be able to find on-campus tutors who can help you prepare for an upcoming exam or assignment. This service, and many others you may find on campus or on your college website, are usually free for students. You can also visit your community library, or go online to access additional learning exercises and resources. Some helpful online study tools include How to Study, Hippocampus for educational videos, and Shmoop for extensive exam prep.