Valuable Exam Study Tips

College exam study tipsIt’s that time of year when exams are upon you. You want to do well, but you’re tired of school and the weather is finally perking up. The temptation to hang out with friends has never been stronger. How can you make the most of your study time without becoming a research recluse or a homework hermit? Follow these exam study tips, and you’ll be on your way to the perfect balance of work and fun.

Study first, play later
Being prepared for the big test is all about setting priorities. Remember that tests come in waves. There will be a time to goof off…there just might not be much of it until after exam time. Even while you prepare, if you set study goals each day and refuse to go out with friends until they’re met, you’re bound to have a decent amount of free time.

Organize a study group
Study groups can be a great resource for exam prep as long as everyone can stay focused on the task at hand. If you’ve been given an outline for what will be on the exam, assign each member of the group a section to review before you meet. Then, during the study group time, you can have each group member share their information and save the time of individually going back through books and notes for every section. Beware of the temptation to merely socialize. If you like hanging out with your group members, arrange to do something fun after studying together. Let make your life simpler by organizing the details of your study group sessions with us.

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Study when you’re at your best
It’s important to schedule study times when you’re at your best. If you’re exhausted, hungry, or have already been studying for hours, chances are you won’t retain much of the material you’re reviewing. Make sure to take study breaks regularly. Use the breaks to refuel with a healthy snack, get in a few minutes of exercise, or hang out with friends. A fifteen to thirty minute break for every two hours of studying should give your brain what it needs to operate optimally.

Take note of what works for you
You’ve heard it’s best to study where there are no distractions, but every time you shut yourself in a quiet room, you end up falling asleep. Recognize that what works for one person, doesn’t work for everyone. Some people need complete silence and solitude to study. Others need music and people around. Some students study best first thing in the morning. Others are night owls. People even vary on whether they should always study in the same spot or mix it up and move around a lot. Experiment with what study patterns work best for you, and then stick with those.

Prepare along the way
If you’ve blown off classes and waited to buy the textbook until the week before your final, you’re about to learn a painful lesson. Reading the assigned texts, taking good notes in class, and completing assignments along the way are the best ways to prepare for an exam. If you have good notes or can get a copy from someone who does, you’d be wise to read through them and highlight important information as you go. Anything you find repeated is likely to be on the exam.

Keep it in perspective
A certain level of stress is actually helpful when preparing for an exam. Recognizing that it’s important to study and do well on a test can properly motivate you to adopt good work habits. Still, there’s a fine line between a healthy dose of adrenaline to help you perform your best, and a harmful level of anxiety that prevents you from thinking clearly. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by stress, take a break from studying and evaluate what you can do to best prepare for the upcoming exam. Then, focus on following through on your plan and accept that you’ll do the best you can when test day arrives.

The good news about taking exams is that the more you take, the better you become at them. With the proper amount of preparing ahead of time with these study tips, you’re sure to do well!