Exams—if that word makes you feel scared, stressed or anxious, this article’s for you. Studying for exams without stressing out seems impossible, but it’s pretty doable if you follow these tips.
Prioritize your study time
For you to ace your exams, you have to prioritize your studies, and that involves more than simply admitting that you have to study for your classes. Prioritizing means you rank exams in order of importance, and as a result, you devote more time to your struggling courses.
For example, if you already have an A in English 102, then don’t spend 10 hours studying for that exam. Instead, use that time to study hard for your Essential Science exam, where you’re trying to raise your grade from a C to a B.
Also, focus on your major classes. It wouldn’t make sense for me as an English major to kill myself studying for my biology elective when my grades in my literature courses are seriously struggling.
Many students try cramming an entire semester’s worth of information the night before the exam. Apart from being ineffective—and crazy—cramming will mentally exhaust you. And you don’t want to go into your exam feeling tired and distracted.
Instead of studying an entire semester’s worth of notes in one evening, divide and conquer. Break up your semester into sections and plan on studying the material every day a week in advance. You can then refresh your memory with a general review of your material the day before your exams.
I know setting aside study time sounds impossible because you’re super busy. It’s crunch time after all, and you have zero time to spare.
Actually, college students have a lot more time than they think they do. And it’s not about having time to study. Rather, it’s about making time to study. Making time for reviewing looks different for every person, but it will require sacrifices. No pain, no gain.
Identify pockets of time you can transform into study sessions. Instead of scrolling through Facebook you can scroll through your lecture slides. Or reserve a specific hour in the morning or evening for studying. The possibilities are endless. So do what works best for you.
Find a quiet study spot
Trying to review in your dorm room when your roommate’s having a party will distract you for sure. Trying to study and socialize at the same time will result in a distracted and frustrated you. And we don’t want that, right?
If you’re like most students—myself included—then you need a distraction-free spot where you can concentrate and study hard. Having a specific study spot can help improve your study habits and concentration, which you’ll need for finals.
But you don’t have to stick to one spot. Switch it up! A New York Times study concluded that varying study spots actually helps you retain more information. So try new places. If you always study in your dorm room, then go to the library or find a quiet corner in The Den.
Don’t neglect your health
Remember that sleeping, eating healthy, and exercising at least 20 minutes every day are still important things that will help keep your brain functioning at an optimal level.
Studying for exams is intimidating, but it becomes less daunting when you develop a game plan.