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Study habits to help you ace your next exam

Studying is something most of us dread. From stress to wandering thoughts, it is easy to get lost on where to begin when there is so much information in front of you. To help prevent pre-test anxieties and to help you ace your next exam, here are some ways that you can perfect your study routine in the most effective ways possible.

The most obvious skill to acquire is note taking, and it is better to write notes on a notepad instead of typing on a digital device. The main issue with typing as a form of note taking is that students are more likely to type what they hear without putting any critical, cognitive thinking into it. Note taking can be simplified into the key points of the lecture, that way you can separate unimportant information into key concepts for the most effective results. It is also good to talk with your professor if you feel as if you aren’t grasping a certain concept or you are confused, that way your notes are complete when it comes time to study. 

Having an organized space often leads to having a more organized mind. The cleanliness of your workspace can have a positive effect on your mindset when it is time to start the studying process. This means having a clean desk, keeping a planner and calendar with important dates and keeping your classes separate in terms of notes, folders and notebooks. Placing sticky notes on pages or concepts you want to return to can help your textbooks stay organized before an exam. If your textbook is online, highlighting key points to come back to works just as well.

Although tricky, unplugging from social media during study time not only saves time but also helps improve the longevity and speed of information retention. Apps such as Offtime of Flipd can lock you out of social media for a certain amount of time, which helps enforce studying if you have a bad habit of checking your phone frequently. 

Cramming for tests last minute may be tempting, but this only increases stress and limits the amount of information you retain. You will also be more successful if you start studying bits and pieces at a time. It is often recommended that after getting done with a section, review the topics discussed instead of saving it for the few days before the test when you have a ton of work due on top of exam preparation.

Although hard to believe, there is a thing such as “over-studying.” This can be easily solved by scheduling specific times to go to the library or your dorm to study. Schedule what chapters you will be studying and key concepts, that way you do not intake more information than your brain can handle in one sitting. Time management is key to being a successful test taker. Taking a break from studying is crucial. We are human, not machines. Studying in intervals helps reset your brain and allows you to relax. Try reviewing for 50 minutes and then taking a 10 minute break to refresh, grab a drink, stretch or close your eyes. 

While studying is important, so is your physical and mental health. Taking care of your body by eating a nutritious meal or taking a hot shower can make all the difference in preparing for that upcoming exam. 

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