1. Start early
We’ve all been there. It’s the night before an exam and you haven’t even reviewed the material yet. So what do you do? You cram and memorize as much information as possible and hope it sticks long enough for you to scribble down answers. It may work for some, but believe it or not, you don’t learn much by doing this. You forget all that information you crammed soon after the test is handed in. Starting earlier (depending on the nature of the test, time would vary). A good rule of thumb is to start reviewing the material three days in advance. That way you can start by jogging your memory, the next day you can tackle the more difficult concepts, and the third day is just fine tuning. It will greatly reduce your stress levels, too!
2. Be healthy
This is something we should do anyway, but preparing for mental tasks takes more physical preparation than one would think. Sleep is necessary. Without it, you just won’t be able to retain information and studying will be a huge waste of time. Also, try eating healthy food that won’t affect your brain activity. Avoid lots of sugar and caffeine. All they do for most people is make them jittery and unable to focus. Staying hydrated is another great thing to do. As my girlfriends dad always says, “Keep the brain wet!”
3. Read, Re-Read ALOUD
This can differ from person to person, but it’s not given a fair shot by most. Reading through notes is generally very helpful. However, just reading through once isn’t going to make the information stick. Try reading the material multiple times. Also, try reading it aloud. That way you are not only reading, but also hearing your own voice recite the information. It’s like you’ve become your own professor. Who needs school, right?
4. Study in Groups
So there’s this cute girl or guy in your class and you’ve got a big test coming up. Ask them (and maybe a few other friends from class if you’re shy) to get together and study before the test. It not only gives you insights to your peers understanding of the content, but it also forces you to understand the material so you’ll be able to explain it to your peers. Who says you can’t get your flirt on while studying rigorous academic information?
5. Take breaks
After studying for an hour or two, reward yourself. Watch a TV show, or go outside and get some fresh air. It helps you come back to the material in an hour with a clear mind and prevents getting mentally burnt out. Personally, I like to do some sort of physical activity (go for a walk, do some pushups, go for a quick bike ride). Some of my hall mates swear by playing online games that stimulate their brain. They swear it helps them retain information for the future.
If you’ve found some great study tips that work for you that I haven’t covered here, would you please comment below?