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Tests, quizzes, exams, midterms, however you put it, they all equal stress. They test your knowledge on what you’ve learned so far and to see if you’ve been paying attention. You’re expected to know as much information as possible up to the exam date. How difficult can that be, right?
If you don’t procrastinate, focus in class, do the required readings and homework, it may not be too bad. But if you’re like a lot of universities students who may let those slip now and then, it’s time to buckle down and study.
Since it won’t be long until midterms start, here are five study tips to help get you prepared and ace your first test.
Don’t Wait Until the Night Before
It’s time to accept the fact cramming everything in the night before an exam doesn’t always work. You may think that by staying up late and reading through everything will help you remember it all. The truth is, though, it will actually do you more harm than good.
Cramming tends to stress students out. When you’re stressed, your concentration levels are lower and less effective. You’ll also sleep less the night before, which is the opposite of what you want. Having a good night’s sleep will help your brain perform at its best capacity. Plus, when you cram, you’re not really learning the material. You’re only memorizing it for a short amount of time. Do yourself a favour and start reviewing the material well before the exam.
Get a Study Buddy or Group
Studying with someone or a group of people taking the same test can be beneficial for you. For one, there’s a good chance whoever you’re reviewing with will have tips or notes that you didn’t think of, and vice versa. You can exchange information with one another to help each other out.
Study groups are also an excellent way to keep you motivated and on track. Quite often, studying with someone else leads to critical thinking and discussions about the material. These discussions will help you learn the information even more. Typically, they should help you fight distractions and procrastination.
Make an Outline and a Pre-Exam
Even if the professor gives you an outline of the exam, it’s still a good idea to write out your own, and we mean actually write it out. Writing things down can help you remember important information better. When you develop your own outline, you’ll be able to set it up in a way that enables you to understand the material better.
When you have a solid outline ready, start quizzing yourself. Create a pre-exam based on both your outline and the professor’s outline. It will help show you what you know and what you need to spend extra time on.
Pace Yourself and Take Breaks
You should take breaks while you’re studying. If you’ve given yourself enough time to study, you should be able to afford taking breaks. Pacing yourself and giving your brain a break helps reduce stress and relax you, all contributing to an increase in focus and memory when you go back to the books.
A solid study break should only be roughly 10 to 15 minutes tops. Too long of a break and it might be hard to get yourself motivated again. Too short of a break and you haven’t given your brain enough time to rest. Taking small, regular breaks that get you up and moving are the best.
Organize Your Notes
Organization will be your best friend in university, especially around exam time. All of the notes you take (or should be taking) in class is what you’ll be using to study from. If they are all over the place, you’ll be bouncing from one point to another rather than having a smooth transition between subjects.
Colour coding your notes can also help. Create a system that works for you based on priority. One colour for high priority information, less important, and what you already know. It will show you the material you should spend extra time on rather than continually reviewing the information you’re already comfortable with.
Download a Study App
There are many apps out there that do more than post pictures online or for games. Lots of apps help you study for quizzes and exams. They keep your notes organized, make checklists so you know what to do, or even make flashcards which are excellent to study with.
Here’s a list of some of the top study apps for university:
What types of study methods do you use to help you ace a test?
Kailey graduated with a degree in Journalism and Religious Studies from the University of Regina, Saskatchewan. Now she lives a double life in Manitoba – writer by day and dance teacher by night. When she’s not at her computer, you’ll find her curled up with a glass of red wine and knitting, or obsessively taking photos of her puppy.🐶🐾
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