With finals season approaching fast, you’ve probably got a whole lot of studying in your future. Impending exams can be overwhelming, no matter how early you start preparing. Take heart though: There are seriously easy ways to make all that reviewing less agonizing, and if you play your cards right, way more effective. Try these simple study tips and see what works for you.
Get a little loud: A big part of studying is just reading: finally reading that chapter you skipped, re-reading the material you felt shakiest on, reading over the notes you took months ago…no wonder your eyes tend to glaze over before long. To prevent entering a trance-like state where you’re reading without really processing, start reading out loud. It’s one of the oldest and lo-fi study hacks, but also one of the most effective, as it forces you to focus on every word. If that starts to get too easy, read upside down. Yes, turn your notes or book upside down and try to read it that way. It’ll slow you down, but you’ll actually concentrate on what you’re reading, not all the other things fighting for your brain’s attention.
Or listen in: For those moments when you can’t conceivably have your nose stuck in a book—while you’re walking, driving, exercising, folding laundry, whatever—consider listening to a recording that compliments your studying. Whether you have recordings of your professor’s lectures, found a podcast on the topic, or taped yourself reading over your notes, plug in your earbuds and listen. This is especially helpful for auditory learners who do best when they hear information.
App-ly yourself: There are tons of apps out there that can assist with optimizing your studying, and many are either free or pretty cheap. Reference apps like National Geographic’s world atlas or a mobile periodic table are great for studying, and there are even apps to replace graphing calculators and paper flashcards. If you’re a data junkie, try Study Checker, which tracks your study habits and reveals the trends, so you can see where you can increase your efficiency.
Rewards yourself: How do you stay motivated when you’re not in the mood to study? It’s unrealistic to think you’ll be able to review non-stop, so build in breaks as rewards. This has a whole bunch of benefits. Chunking your review will make the material more digestible, you’ll be more driven to get things done since there’s a (temporary) reprieve in sight, and your brain will benefit from the refresh. Ultimately, it’s all about hacking your brain a little bit. When you’re deep in a studying haze, you may be so eager to escape that you find yourself making strange bargains, such as getting to look at Instagram for five whole minutes if you can finish the next chapter of your reading.
Embrace the theory of (study) evolution: When you try a new study method, evaluate how well it worked afterwards, and keep up the habits that result in success (and get rid of the ones that don’t). Put simply, you have to do what works for you, and you may need to experiment with many different methods before reaching your study sweet spot. Some people insist that listening to music helps them study, while others think it’s a distraction. A lot of people will tell you not to study in bed, but other people swear by it. You may even find that certain tactics are better for certain subjects. Don’t be afraid to switch things up!
Also, on12/12/16 at 6:00 p.m. try “Destress with the Health Advocates” in the Peace Quad —Get tips on how to manage your stress, blow bubbles, breathe, etc.
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