1. Avoid Stressed Out People
Did you know that stress is contagious? While you’re trying to cram the whole semester’s curriculum into your brain the last thing you need is someone else stressing you out more than you already are “Omg how do you do this? Wait do you think this will be on the test? I am sooo not ready, let’s just dropout”. Don’t let their stress add to yours, if you know you can’t study with that person just tell them no and study by yourself.
2. Don’t Procrastinate
This one’s obvious but we’re all guilty of it, thinking we have more time to study then we actually do so we leave all of our studying to the last minute. Leaving the studying to the last minute causes unnecessary stress and cramming that doesn’t always result in the best grades. Look at your exam schedule and plan out which days you should study for each exam. Leave some additional time for extra challenges you face while studying.
3. Chew gum
Various studies have shown that chewing gum increases blood flow to the brain which can help with concentration, alertness and memory. Try chewing gum while you study and during the exam. Just try not to be that annoying kid that loudly chews their gum like a cow.
4. Study by Yourself, Then Meet With Partners
Take the time to study by yourself first, put all your focus and concentration on the subject your studying and along the way write down a list of things you don’t understand. Once you’ve accomplished all that you can by yourself meet up with some friends who are studying for the same exam. See if they can explain to you what you’re struggling with and vice versa. Teaching someone else the course material is a proven way to solidify what you’ve already studied.
5. The 50-10 Rule
It’s unrealistic to say you’re going to study for 4 straight hours with your focus entirely on studying. Your brain needs a break and you get anxious not knowing what’s going on in the world of Social Media. The technique is to give a 100% of your focus on studying for 50 minutes then take 10 minutes to do whatever you want (most likely check ever single social media platform that exists). After the 10 minutes, go back to studying and set the alarm on your phone for another 50 minutes.
6. Get Your Sleep
This is a pretty common tip but it’s so essential that it had to be a part of the list. This goes hand in hand with procrastinating, if you leave all your studying to the last minute, chances are you’re going to pull some sort of all nighter where you get close to no sleep and go into the exam feeling like a zombie. A lack of sleep has been linked to impaired cognitive performance and greater sensitivity to stress. Ideally try to get 8 hours of sleep the night before an exam.
7. Listen to Classical Music
Yes, I know you want to listen to the new T-Swift album (that includes you boys) but you can’t actually focus on studying when you’re dancing and singing out every lyric to the song. Classical music has been said to be the best thing to listen to while studying because it’s peaceful and harmonious. Studies have shown that listening to Mozart can actually improve mental performance; it’s called the “Mozart Effect”. Here’s a 6-hour playlist of his music, DON’T QUIT STUDYING TILL YOU’VE LISTENED TO THE ENTIRE THING (including your 10 minute breaks!). Whatever you listen to, try to find something that doesn’t have lyrics (this does not include intense EDM bro, save that for after the finals) and ensure the volume is at a low to moderate level. Music can motivate you and keep you calm but it is not for everyone so try it out and see if it’s right for you.
8. Relieve Your Stress
It’s inevitable that you’re going to stress out but luckily there are numerous ways for you to relieve your stress such as working out, lighting some candles, or getting a massage. One of my favorite techniques is simply by having a good laugh. Laughing helps release stress, so the next time you take a break, go to YouTube or watch a funny sitcom (only one episode though, DO NOT binge watch a season on Netflix). The list is endless but you know better than anyone how to get rid of your stress, the important thing is you’re getting rid of it so you can calm down, get back to studying and write that test with confidence.
9. Do the Practice Questions
This one is dependent on the type of test you’re studying for. Students often focus all of their time writing notes and going through the textbook but don’t take the time to do the practice questions. Practice questions are often quite different than the theory of the textbook and will be a lot more similar to what will be tested on the actual exam. If your teacher gives you any practice material at all make sure you complete all the questions. Your exam is almost guaranteed to have questions that will be quite similar.
10. Study in the Right Environment
Be honest with yourself, are you really going to get a lot of studying done if you meet up with 4 of your friends? You know yourself better than anyone else, so decide where you can focus the best – is it at home by a big window with a lot of natural light or is it at the library far away from your family and TV? One day maybe study at home and the next at a coffee shop. Research has suggested that switching locations help us retain information. That’s because every time we move, it forces the brain to form new associations with the same material, making it a stronger memory. Wherever you study make sure it’s in a non cluttered environment where you feel comfortable.
When it comes time to write the exam, don’t panic, just know that you’ve done all that you can and write the test with confidence. It’s just another exam and when you’re done, you’ll be that much closer to finishing school for good.