As the semester begins to draw to a close and the holidays near, one thing is on the mind of most students: exams. Even for those students who find the school system enjoyable, exam season can provoke a lot of anxiety.
How can you make sure you’ve gotten every little detail of a course into your head? Instead of stressing out about the whole ordeal, maybe it’s time to integrate some test study tips into your routine.
By approaching studying in a different way, you might find that you can better prepare yourself, calm your nerves, and walk away with a great score. Ready to dive into some excellent tips and tricks? Read on and we’ll walk you through our most helpful.
- Put Your Phone Away
There is one element of studying that the students of today have to struggle against that previous generations never had to worry about: technological distractions. There are more distractions to studying today than there ever has been in years previous.
The main source of potential distraction is probably your cell phone. After all, it contains connections to everyone you know, the news cycle, and the rest of the world.
One of the best things you can do to increase your ability to focus is to put your phone away before sitting down to study. When we say away, we mean away. Not silenced, on vibrate, or turned over next to you.
We’re creatures of habit, and the easiest habit to get into is reaching for your phone the second there’s even a lull in your focus. This can really break your concentration and prevent you from properly downloading information from your books to your brain.
With your phone in the other room, you’ll be able to better focus on the task at hand. If you have notifications set up on your computer that forward messages from your phone, make sure you have those disabled as well.
- Implement Memory-Aiding Practices
Have a number of complicated topics you need to commit to memory? See if you can use a few different techniques to help get things stuck into your brain.
A popular method you might’ve tried in the past involved creating acronyms. For example, if you had a history exam coming up and were trying to remember the different commandments of the Islam religion, you might write down something like People Cheer For Pizza.
That’s because the first few letters of this phrase correspond with those of the actual commandments: faith, prayer, charity, fasting, pilgrimage.
Having the first letters in front of you can spur your mind into remembering what you actually need to know.
It can also be helpful to write down information that we think we might forget. Research has indicated that we tend to remember information better if we take the time to write it down by hand. This is a better form of memory-building than typing something out at a keyboard.
So, if there are a few key facts you definitely don’t want to forget, consider writing them on a piece of notebook paper over and over again. This should really help to commit those facts to memory.
Similarly, speaking these facts out loud can help to better cement them in your brain. You might not be able to do this if you’re studying in a public place, but if you’re at home it can be a good practice to get into.
- Consider a Study Group
This tip might not work out for everyone. There are some people who can excel in a group setting and might even need the assistance of a few other people to help them focus. There are other people, however, that find the presence of others distracting and might be better suited to studying on their own.
There are many benefits to getting together with a group of people to study. There’s the physical activity of it, which wakes your brain up and makes you more attentive to the information being presented.
You also can lean on others to help you memorize the material. How is your friend managing to fit all the parts of a cell into their head? They might be able to explain it to you in a way that makes sense and helps you to remember it as easily as well.
If you’re planning on cramming for a test together, you’ll likely want to do it spread out over a few sessions. While there is an advantage to studying in a group, it also tends to be a good deal slower than studying on your own.
Make sure you pick the right group to sit down and study with! You need a circle of friends who are as committed as you to getting a stellar score on this exam. Don’t accidentally fall in with a group that just wants to hang out — that won’t help you much in the long-run.
- Quiz Yourself Often
The easiest way to know if you’re actually getting the information you need down in your head is to pretend you’re taking the test you’re going to take right now.
That’s right: quiz yourself. Asking yourself questions and pulling out the answers is probably the best way to prepare for an oncoming exam. When you practice, you can keep the answers nearby and can refer to them if you really get stuck.
If you do this enough, however, you might not need to rely on your cheat sheet anymore, which is exactly where you want to be.
If you’re planning on taking a timed test, see how fast you can get through the answers. Do this a few times over, picking up your pace each time. Think of it almost as an athletic workout, but for your mind.
If you’re not sure how to quiz yourself, there’s likely a lot of online practice tests and programs you can look into depending on the subject you’re studying.
With a little practice under your belt, you’ll be well prepared for your exam and you’ll likely have a lot more confidence as well.
- Walk Backwards
That’s right, it might sound silly, but research has shown that if you want to remember different things with ease, walking backward across a room can help you to do just that.
Why? Scientists say it’s kind of like hitting a rewind button in your brain. Your brain is forced to focus harder to process this kind of motion, so all elements close to this moment get highlighted more vividly in the memory.
It’s strange but true and multiple studies have confirmed this is a great way to commit things to memory or to jog your memory later on. You likely won’t be permitted to stand up from your desk and walk backward through the classroom while filling out your answers, but using this strategy while studying can still be beneficial.
- Know Your Boundaries
Some people hit the books so hard before an exam that they forget to take care of themselves. While it might feel right or even noble to throw yourself off the cliff and into your studying, it can actually hurt your performance at the end of the day.
You need full meals and plenty of sleep if you’re going to perform well. Skipping meals or eating junk food isn’t going to give your body the nutrients it needs to perform well.
Ditto as far as sleeping goes. It can be tempting to pull an all-nighter right before an exam, but you’ll likely just be exhausted and in a fog the next day. The information you hoped to cram in might not come to the top of your mind as easily as it would otherwise.
Yes, it’s important to give your all to the act of studying. It’s also important to look after yourself and know where to draw the line. An exam is still just an exam, at the end of the day. As long as you prepare far ahead of time and in an intelligent manner, there’s no reason you should have to abuse yourself to get the information in your head.
Perfect Test Study Tips You Should Try
No one likes the anxiety of an exam on the horizon. However, the stress that comes with test-taking shouldn’t freeze you up. There are a number of test study tips that can help you to ace your upcoming examination. The above are a few that we find to be the most helpful.
Need more educational advice, information, and tricks? Keep scrolling our blog for more.