ways to study for exams that are actually productive
- use actual note cards for vocab. yes, apps like quizlet are dandy when you’re on the go, but actually physically writing out each note card helps put the information into memory faster than typing them.
- visual learner? make charts and diagrams. they don’t have to be pretty. the lines don’t have to be perfectly straight. it doesn’t have to be photogenic. but if it helps you learn, do it.
- after you take notes (in class or at home/from your text book), write down possible quiz questions about the material on the next page while it’s still fresh in your mind. later on when you’re studying for the test, use these questions to gauge what specifics out of that chapter you need to work on the most.
- start sooner rather than later. i know, you’ve heard this a million times from every teacher ever. but it’s legit. especially as you get into harder level classes and college courses because there is literally so much material that the tests cover that you simply can not accurately learn all of it over night. instead, start about 10 days in advance (but of coarse, the sooner the better).
- studying doesn’t have to be a big giant study session that takes hours. if you start far enough in advance, study sessions can be around an hour, hell even 45 minutes is a good. if you go too long in one study session your brain will be fried and studying will be pointless because your brain won’t be processing any of it. that’s why it’s important to take breaks and not just cram for 5 hours the night before an exam.
- actually study. hold yourself accountable and make your education a priority. if you have homework and studying to do, make it a priority over going partying or watching tv. there will be another party. you can dvr your show. you can’t take your test on a later day because you don’t feel ready. so be ready.
- be careful with study groups. if you have a study group with all of your best friends, lets face it, you’re going to end up spending more time talking about harry styles and supernatural than actually studying. it’s better to have a study group with people who are your friends, but not best friends. and it’s better to keep it between 5-7 people so that everyone can be involved.
- if the material is just super confusing and you can’t seem to understand it no matter how hard you study, it’s not you. it’s the way you were taught it. each teacher teaches a bit differently, and maybe their style of teaching just isn’t for you. if this happens, find a way that explains it the best for you. for example, if chemistry is just super confusing for you, try watching the Crash Course chemistry videos on youtube or have a friend explain it to you. this will give you a completely different perspective on the material and will help you understand it better.
- at the end of the day, remember that everything will be okay. studying can be stressful, especially if it’s in a class that you struggle in. but i promise you that you are not the only one who struggles sometimes in school, it’s a part of being human. as long as you actually put in an effort and try your best, be proud of yourself. take a deep breath. and remember: you got this.