6 Study Tips Every Student Should Know
Picture this: it’s 2:00 a.m. and you’ve just read the same word in your biology textbook four times. You’ve been sitting in the library for the past four hours, completely exhausted after a long day of classes and work. You’re trying to prepare for a big exam tomorrow, but your eyes can barely stay open and all you want to do is go back to your apartment and go to bed.
Now imagine this: it’s 2:00am on the night before a big exam and you go to bed early. You wake up in the morning refreshed after a fairly relaxing study day. You walk to class and ace that exam without the lack of sleep and stress of an exhausting all-nighter.
Which of these scenarios sounds better?
With busy schedules and demanding classes, most college students will tell you they’ve had many late-night study sessions. Sometimes there’s no other time per day to fit in study time. And yet, long, late-night study binges can be truly detrimental to sleep patterns, memory, and brain function. So, as students return to the classroom at the end of summer, here are our study tips for acing that exam and staying healthy while doing it.
Stop the Binge
Have you ever binge-watched a show on Netflix, and then two weeks later, forgotten many details of the storyline or characters? This scenario plays out similarly when you’re cram studying for a test. Scientists have proven that the brain struggles to retain information studied in a binge-like fashion, and even though many students still get good grades on the test, remembering the information long-term isn’t as successful. By the time those final exams roll around, studying might take twice as long. When you’re preparing for a big test, try studying the information in small intervals over several days.
Take a Break
Once you get in the “study zone,” it can be hard to take a breather for a few minutes. Taking regular breaks and relieving stress throughout your study period is an important part of successfully writing a paper or studying a textbook. Regular breaks will actually help you cut back on procrastination, because when you take numerous short ten minute breaks rather than one hour-long break, your brain will feel rested enough to keep going the entire day. Then, reward yourself at the end of the day with a multi-hour long Netflix session!
Get Up and Exercise
A short exercise of a half-hour is known to improve brain processing speed and decrease stress. When you need a study break, get up, dance, run, or do whatever you need in order to memorize those tedious math equations.
Write It Out
Scientists have discovered that writing out information is often more effective to memory than typing. Turn off your computer, iPad, and electronic devices, and grab an old-fashioned pen and pencil, to write out note cards or copy your notes. Even though handwriting often takes longer, your brain will thank you when you ace your exam.
Have you ever stepped into the classroom on the day of a big test, your material memorized, and the moment the teacher puts the test in front of you, all the information disappears into thin air? Everyone has had a moment like this, and one of the most successful ways to make it through a blank-out is to create a practice exam. Flash cards are a simple and effective tool for memorizing and quizzing while taking the time to even develop your own practice test can allow you to hone in on what you need to know.
Change Your Location
Researchers found that studying the same information in different locations actually improves memory. Move to different spaces around your apartment, or go to a library or coffee shop, every once in a while.