Welcome to your one stop shop on how to study smarter and not harder, especially when you don’t have time to study. We hear it all the time, but today I will walk you through some of the best study methods that teach you how to study effectively with whatever time you have left before your test. These study hacks can help you ace your exam or at least, get a passing grade. Trust me, if you implement these study strategies in order, you are set. Let’s start!
1. Put away all distractions.
This should be a given because we already don’t have a lot of time. Effective studying requires a high level of concentration, and when we are on a crunch for time, we need an even higher level of concentration because we are now competing with anxiety. So, in case you haven’t done it already: turn off your phone, turn off the tv, go to your room, but whatever you do–Do not study on your bed. That is a set up and you will get tired. Sit on the floor, go to the library, anywhere you can focus. A place where you can speak to yourself without causing distraction to others is even better. Bring a snack with you because you might get a little hungry– I know I do.
2. Take a deep breath, relax.
Now that your distractions are put away, before going into full study mode, take a deep breath and relax. Take a minute or two to clear your brain of anything that doesn’t have to do with what you’re about to do. If you’d like, you can even listen to your favorite song before you get started. A study published by Health Harvard Public School has confirmed that music can boost and improve memory and mood. It is a myth that you have to listen to classical music when studying, just your favorite song will do if it puts you in a great mood.
3. Gather all your resources.
Now that you’re in a great mood, think of the resources available to you. Did the professor publish the lecture slides? Do you have a study guide available to you? Have you looked online at any quizlet flashcards that may help you study? All of these will mostly likely give you the information on exactly how to study for your test. Once you’ve gathered your resources, scan through them for information that you know. For example, you might take your study guide and scan the questions and look for the ones you are able to answer. For the ones you are not able to answer, go through the lecture slides or go through the textbook for the chapter about those questions.
4. Look for chapter objectives and focus on paragraph headings.
Most textbooks have a chapter outline at the beginning of each chapter, so take the time to read it carefully and take 30 seconds to think about what you’ve read and let it sink in. Titles often tell crucial information so be sure to read over them because that is a study hack that most people overlook. Now, read the introduction paragraph and the concluding paragraph because they contain valuable information that can help you study well for your test. As for everything in the middle, read the major headings and the subheadings along with the first sentence of each paragraph. This will help you get a better idea of the information discussed in the chapter without having to read the whole thing. Look at graphics, captions, and when you’re done, write down everything you feel like you learned from that chapter as quickly as you can. Write down any questions you have and put them away for review later. Do the same thing with the other chapters.
5. Come up with a crazy Mnemonic device–crazier the better.
Mnemonic devices save lives. Seriously, they are one of the best study methods ever invented and they don’t have to be an acronym like PEMDAS, either. I don’t know about you, but I tend to forget what the acronyms stand for. A mnemonic device can be as simple as something that’s part of the name of what you want to remember. For example, I used to have a hard time differentiating the painters, Monet and Manet and I didn’t know how to best study their work. Then, I noticed that Manet usually paints people, whereas Monet paints landscapes. So, I associated Manet with man, and I didn’t care about making brain space for Monet because I’d already set Manet apart from him. In other words, if you have a hard time remembering something or don’t know quite how to study a specific section, attach it to a memory or to something that you can recall when you’re taking the test and the word comes up. It can literally be anything.
6. Practice makes perfect
We hear it all the time, and if the test you need to study for is less about memorization but more hands-on material, like math, then practicing those math problems are your best bet. The internet is full of practice questions, some of them with the correct answers available for you to look at when you’re done. YouTube also has great video tutorials on how to solve math problems, so be sure to take advantage of all the resources available to you.
7. Take a break.
I know you’re pressed for time but I’m telling you to take a break?! Yes, I am. Take a walk to the fridge, do a lap around the library, or just sit down and do nothing. Give your brain some time to digest the information it just learned. It is needless to keep studying when you’re overwhelmed, so, yes, take a break. If you have a longer time period before your test, you can stop the study session and review the notes you took next day. But if you’re on a shorter time period, I recommend taking a break after every 30-45-minute study sessions. When you come back from your break, see what you can remember without you having to look at the notes you took earlier.
8. Review, Review, Review
It is needless to study if you’re not going to review and activate your new knowledge. Start every new study session with a quick review of the information you covered last time. Read over your notes and review your study guide and mark new questions that you know. This step does not take long and it is necessary to retain and solidify the information in your long-term memory. When time comes to take the test, stop studying 15 minutes before and once again, relax. Don’t try to cram any last minute information into your head because that will only confuse you. Take a deep breath, relax, trust what you’ve learned, and approach the test with confidence!
I wish you the best of luck on your exam and I hope these steps will be helpful to you in your preparation! If you’re looking to study a fun major in college that won’t stress you out, be sure to take a look at digital marketing here.