With the cold weather in full effect, sometimes it can be hard to focus or study effectively. It's a new year and a new semester for many out there, and we want to ensure you do your best. Therefore, we compiled a list of tips to help you study effectively in almost any situation.
Prepare, Plan, & Manage
The best way to prepare for any type of test is starting now (well after you read this post). Start by creating a realistic study plan, scheduling which subject or type of questions you will study on which days. Prioritize according to which class or topic requires the most studying for you. Additionally, you should approach each subject differently, knowing how to study for each kind of exam. Then, create an outline of each topic you want to study on those days. Build on what you know, reviewing what you know first and then adding more difficult or recent material as you proceed. Make sure you study in chunks, not cramming everything into one night. Try studying in 20-40 minute increments, remembering to take a 5-15 minute break in between. This will prevent you from burning out too quickly, and will enforce you to take in the key points you just went over.
Pick The Perfect Place
While studying, you need to pick the best study place. Switch things up when reviewing for exams, trying spaces indoors such as a dining table or outdoor places such as a park. The important thing with this is choosing a quiet space where you can focus and completely concentrate. You should avoid studying in your bed, the cafeteria, or other places with distractions. Your best bet on campus would be the library since you have the most silence, room, and privacy. Along with this, you should unplug and disconnect from all social media. It’s hard not checking your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter every 5 minutes, especially when you don’t want to study. However, turning off your cell phone and shutting it all down for at least an hour with help you stay focused and accomplish a lot. You can also use your smart watch to stay on track and watch the time, but avoid looking at your notifications!
Eat The Right Stuff
Even though you’ll be busy studying, it doesn’t mean you should skip meals or eat a bunch of junk food. Plan time in your study schedule to have regular meals packed with some “brain food” snacks. Some of these super foods include walnuts, berries, coffee, dark chocolate and avocados, all boosting your brain with power! Another great, healthy snack is drinking cocoa. The cocoa bean is actually packed with antioxidants and cognitive enhancers, helping you think and focus.
Your teachers, peers, classmates, and family are there for a reason. If you have time to go, try meeting with your professor or instructor during their office hours and talk to them about extra help on topics that seem too big to tackle or are hard to understand. They may give you key topics to study, and give you a heads up if you’re focusing too much on less important topics. Checking in with your teachers is also great to make sure you received all the necessary review materials and offered all the review sessions.
Relax & Have Fun
Studying doesn’t have to be a complete bore. Make it more interesting by coming up with clever mnemonic devices, or listen to an awesome music playlist to bring the test material to life. Additionally, you don’t have to study alone. Forming a study group with multiple members is great to keep you motivated and get a better understanding of topics. You can even divide and conquer the definition of terms and explanations of concepts, sharing the resources you have. Once it comes to the night before the big exam though, make sure to give your mind and body time to rest and relax. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep is important to think clearly and give you the energy you need to make it through the test (and ace it!).