Exams are a major part of your performance in the classroom and so it’s crucial that you prepare the right way so that you can excel in your classes! Check out this guest post full of tips from Jim Raychrudhury.
1. Start studying early
Most college students get it all wrong. They get the assignment for each of their finals, count back a couple or three days from the day of the final, and take it easy until that first “study day” comes. Rather than wasting it, maximize your study time by counting forward to the day of the exam and splitting your study session up between those days. For example, instead of starting to cram on Tuesday for your Biology final that is on Tuesday that you found on Friday, give yourself the whole week to study. That’s essentially 7 days of prep time, so divide the course into seven sections and cover that amount of material each day. You’ll be ahead of the game and won’t feel the need to cram as much the night before.
2. Prioritize your study time
Most students spend the same amount of time preparing for each final, but even this is a bit of a time waster. Do you really need to study as much for your Intro to Physical Education Course as you do your Advanced Human Anatomy course? Probably not. So instead think about the difficulty you’ll face with each final and then prioritize your study time accordingly – giving more time to more difficult subjects and putting those study sessions first.
3. Create a schedule
Going hand-in- hand with prioritizing your studies, creating a schedule is another great way to maximize your study time. Use a planner or calendar and block out the time you intend to study for each final. This level of planning will help you stay on track with your studies and lower your stress level. It will also help you fit in a little time for things like eating, exercising, and hanging out with friends – but just a little!
4. Organize your study space
Your study sessions won’t be nearly as effective if you’re disorganized and don’t have all of your materials. So before you even begin studying, take some time to get prepared. Organize your notes and materials and make sure you have all of them as well as any handouts from the class. Prep your area with pens, pencils, highlighters, and other study tools so you don’t have to waste valuable study time looking for those things. Have a couple of snacks on hand so you can grab something if you get hungry rather than having to go
scrounging around for something. Taking the initiative to get organized will be a game changer when it comes time to study.
5. Plan study sessions with classmates
Plan study sessions with your peers only if it makes sense. If you are more of an independent learner or if you have a tendency to get side-tracked with friends, a group study session isn’t going to benefit you that much. However, if you are struggling with the material
or a certain concept, a study buddy may be able to explain it better for you or help you work through it. Just be judicious in selecting who to study with and for how long so you can maximize your time.
6. Break up your study sessions
Cramming for hours on end may seem like the best way to get the most study time in, but it honestly is not the most effective use of your time. At some point you’ll end up just starting to go through the motions and won’t be putting in quality study time. Instead, break up your sessions into smaller chunks of time and take breaks in between each session to keep your brain fresh and ready to absorb more information.
7. Feed your brain the right fuel
Just like your body needs the right fuel to perform well, your brain does to. It’s a muscle, right? So be sure to eat in a way that benefits your brain – all semester long but especially at finals time. Veggies, berries, walnuts, and fish, are all beneficial for your brain and memory and can provide important nutrients to help you get the most out of your study regimen.
So instead of cramming it all in at the last minute and stressing that you’re going to fail all of your finals, use these tips to strategically prepare for your exams. Beat the burnout, and then leave campus feeling proud, successful, and ready for break!