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SEP 01, 2019 • 7 min read
So how do you study efficiently?
This can be a challenge to master. Studying not only takes concentration and focus, but it takes technique. Combing through a semester worth of notes for one exam can be stressful, so having a few tricks up your sleeve on how to get through it all methodically will lend to higher scores and less time spent actually studying - and more time doing things you love like singing, playing soccer or painting!
Below we’ve compiled a list of the best study hacks to improve your memory and future exam scores.
Remember that “taking a walk” does not mean attending an intense yoga or boxing class the night before the biggest final of your college career. Instead it means taking a leisurely stroll to get the juices flowing.
Research conducted by Dr. Chick Hillman of the University of Illinois provides evidence that about 20 minutes of exercise before an exam can help improve your performance. He discovered that small amounts of physical fitness before taking an exam can help to increase your ability to concentrate and focus on questions when taking an exam.
Rewriting your notes can help trigger your memory on specific topics you may not have reviewed in a while. It can also help you organize the material better, making your notes easier to understand and absorb.
After rewriting your notes, it’s beneficial to then read them outloud. In doing this, you are 50% more likely to remember something by reading it out loud than you would by reading the material in your head.
Studying is hard work! It’s beneficial to set benchmarks for you to hit as you study. For example, if you are re-reading an entire chapter, reward yourself with a piece of candy after each paragraph. If you are studying with flashcards, give yourself a 5 minute break after each set to regroup before continuing to study.
Diagrams work really well when studying for an anatomy or biology exams and you are trying to memorize a process or a set of relationships. The brain transfers visual information from the eyes to the thalamus to different parts of the cortex, which could be aided with a diagram.
Picking fonts like Times New Roman or Arial are your best bet when it comes to creating study guides and notes. These fonts are the easiest on your eyes, making it much easier to follow pages and pages of notes.
Avoid using fonts like Comic Sans, Caveat, Lobster or Pacifico. These fonts are hard to read and while they might make your notes look much less boring… they aren’t so easy on the eyes.
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Flashcards engage ‘active recall’ which means you are attempting to remember the concept from scratch rather than starting at the passage in your textbook or recognizing it on a study guide.
This form of engaged studying will make memorizing specific information much easier and will help you gain confidence in particular topics.
Taking breaks is important when studying. They give your brain some time to relax and absorb information before cramming more facts and figures in. It’s important not to cram the night before an exam, giving yourself ample time to study is the easiest way to avoid cramming.
It is recommended to start studying for exams at least a week before, some exams require more prep however, it depends on the subject and amount of content which will be covered on the exam.
You might be a little nervous the night before an important exam that may make or break your final grade in a particular class. Getting a full night’s sleep before a big exam will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your exam.
When you have to get up at a certain time, ensure you will get at least 8 hours of sleep from the time you go to sleep. A little tip, add an extra half hour to that time. This extra half hour will come in handy when you switch the lights off and your mind is racing with questions.
Studying with others can sometimes be distracting, but working with a group of passionate, like-minded students can help you understand topics you may not grasped during your class or lecture. You can also ask other students questions or for assistance with specific questions you may need help on.
Music can help you focus while drowning out distractions you may hear outside during your study time. Listening to the right kind of music can also help you retain more information. Follow the Crimson Spotify account for the best study playlists of 2019.
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