I thought to write down the “script” to one of my most viewed videos, with 40 study tips & tricks. It’s easier to read them and pass on the word!
1. Incorporate homework and classes in you
daily planner – that will give you an overall glimpse of how your week will
be about and how much time you need to spend in your studying sessions!
2. Color coordinate classes – be it notes,
your planner, your textbooks or binders, pick a unique color for each class and
work around the hues of that color to get more organized!
3. Make your own syllabus – if your
professor doesn’t provide a syllabus for your class, try to make one before the
school year working around your given textbooks or other given material.
4. Make study guides – make a study guide
from your syllabus and draw before each topic two boxes: one for a midtest and
one for the final test. When you have one of these tests, check the boxes when
you’ve finished studying the chapter so you won’t miss anything!
5. Referenceyour material throughout – most of the times, we students work with
in-class notes, textbooks and a syllabus. Since we get small bits of
information here and there it’s important to reference every page throughout
all your material so you can quickly access your information without having to
flip endlessly through pages!
6. Keep a dashboard nearby – Whenever you
use a notebook or a binder, make a dashboard on the first page with post it
notes so you can quickly scribble any questions, homework or page numbers. When
you get home, you just need to open your dashboard and attend those notes.
7. Print any tests, exercises and exams you
can find – keep those in the end of your binder. These are perfect to
practice before exams and tests because they really reflect what you will be
tested about. Set an alarm clock for the deadline and start working on those!
8. Condense – organization disappears when
you have too many of everything. Working with more than one planner in your
life will make everything chaotic. If you think you need a second planner
because you don’t have enough space to write in the first one, it’s because you
don’t have available time as well. Don’t fool yourself and set achievable
9. Customize your textbooks – most of the
times, textbooks are formal books where information is hard to come by. Make
your own tabs and write every chapter on them so they stick out – flag any
charts, tables or graphics. Everything needs to be incredibly accessible!
10 Print a special planning sheet before
finals: Organizing your studying by chapters and/or topics before finals is
tremendously important since it lets you organize the amount of time you
dedicate to each subject,
Study Sessions and Time Management
11. Save at least one afternoon or one
morning a week for intensive studying. These is your “life-saver” – when you
get so full of homework and projects that you can’t incorporate them into your
daily academic routine, one free afternoon to organize your school life will really
come in handy! Make an appointment with yourself!
12. Prepare in advance – although most
professors may not ask you to prepare a class in advance, if you have the means
to, go ahead. Grab a sheet and make a summary of the chapter your class will be
about. Write the major topics and key information and take that guide to class.
When your professor repeats previously studied information, you will be able to
understand everything much better!
13. Never leave something behind – Even if
you have a more light class, where professors don’t request homework or any
side projects, don’t let that fool you! Be disciplined and be your own
professors! Make your own projects and learn everything you can so you can nail
those finals when they arrive.
14. Write your questions – most of the
time, in a heavy study session, we come up with tons of questions and sometimes
we just leave them behind. Write them down in your dashboard or a small
notebook and ask your professors (personally or via e-mail). You can also ask
your schoolmates in a facebook group created for that purpose!
15. Set an alarm clock and reward yourself
– even if you study during an entire afternoon your studying will be pointless
if you don’t take regular breaks. Set an alarm clock for one hour/one hour and
a half and then take a 15 minute break. Never study for more than 2 hours
straight! Even if you don’t notice, you’ll get less and less focused.
16. . Make a list – before each study session
I like to grab my notepad and write down everything that I need to do before my
session ends: the chapters I need to read, the pages I need to go through and
the homework I need to complete. Sometimes I even write theses lists when I’m
in college so I’ll have more determination to complete those tasks once I get
17 Work on the least interesting thing first.
There are always classes or projects that we like the least – and those are the
ones that we need to tackle first. You will start your studying session
concentrated, which will let you go through the worst tasks faster.
18 Print, print, print. try to print
everything you can and never study from your computer. Having your PDF files
printed at hand will let you concentrate better, highlight and write some notes
in the margins. You can take these everywhere with you and even turn them into
small guides for future classes!
19. If you finish ahead, don’t quit.
Perhaps the time you’ve saved for your study session has come to an end way
before you have planned. That doesn’t mean you should stop right now – Take
that time to review what you’ve learned so far or prepare other classes ahead
20. Study in an organized space – make your
own studying corner – bring everything you will need, from textbooks, binders
and notebooks, to a cup of coffee and your computer. Keep them neatily
organized on your desk so everything is at hand and on sight. Put on some soft
background music (links down below) and adjust the lightning.
In class notes
21. If your
professor provides PowerPoint slides
before each class, print them (six or four per page) and bring them to class.
Write in the margins and more throughout information in the back so it’s all
condensed and tight. This is where you’ll take your notes. If you prefer to
write on lined paper, think about copying some ruled paper to the back of your
22. If your
professor asks you to prepare your class
in advance, try to make a small guide for each class. Open the comments
column in MSWord and print the pages with that column. When you go to class,
incorporate the in-class notes in that column, next to the relevant information
so everything is nice and condensed.
23 If you
are in a information-heavy class,
try to adopt the Cornell method, which is the best, in my opinion, when you
need to be a fast writer. There’s a video right here on how to use this method.
24. If you
are in a bits-and-pieces class,
which is that kind of class where the professor just gives a few key points and
then gives practical examples or makes you work in group, try to adopt the box
method – you can draw these boxes yourself or make them with post it notes –
these are way more visual and perfect to memorize information.
25. Write in-class flashcards – if you don’t have
flashcards around, make tiny flashcards on the top of your notes, where you
cover the definitions you’ve written with the name of the definition. Each time
you open your notes, try to remember the hidden definition. Automatic studying,
26. Participate in class – nothing better
than to be actively involved in your class discussion. For most of us, shy creatures,
participating can be dreadful – but once you get out of your box, you’ll see
how participating really makes you understand the subject!
27. If you
have any questions during class,
raise your hand and ask them. If your professor doesn’t like being interrupted,
write them down and approach them in the end of the class. Sometimes, the
little things we don’t understand are exactly the ones that come up on the
28. Ask for
examples. Examples are probably the
thing that makes your brain connect the information faster. If your professor
isn’t keen on providing examples, suggest your own and see if your answer comes
up right. Sometimes, examples are the thing that really makes us understand our
material and our definitions, since they transform formal information into
29. Sit at the front. It sounds too
straightforward but sitting at the front really makes wonders. You won’t get
distracted by what you classmates are doing, you will focus on the professor,
who is right in front of you and you will resist the temptation of going to
Facebook and Instagram during a boring presentation.
30. Write a
brief summary at the end of the class.
During those five minutes where everyone is dismissed and leaving the room,
write a brief summary of that classes’ key points in the back of a page – this
is fundamental in the Cornell method but can be used in any other method as
31 Skim through your material two times:
at first, you should start by studying your material starting from the end. The
last lessons will be fresh in your memory and it’s very important to reinforce
your knowledge on these while you can. In the second reading, you should start
from the beginning, as usual. It’s important to make these two readings so you
can go through the information in a much more flexible way.
32. Make a mindmap of each chapter. A mindmap is a
chart that relates key words and important information, making it easy to
understand the relationship and hierarchy between such key words. Use colors
and images to memorize your material better. Oh, and don’t forget to check out
my video on how to make mindmaps!
each of the titles and try to say
out loud its contents, explaining each concept and the relationship between
them. Imagine you are the teacher and are lecturing that subject to a crowd. If
you skip any of the subjects, do it all over again. The more you repeat, the
better you will memorize.
time for some flash cards! Write the
topic or the title on one side and the meaning or the explanation on the other.
Try to cover as many topics or titles as you can and go through your cards
while memorizing as best as you can each of the concepts. Try to do it
backwards if you have time to do so!
35. On the
day before the exam, skim through your mindmaps and flash cards again and
always try to study while talking. Saying your content out loud will force your
brain to relate information in a much more cohesive way and you’ll memorize
everything much better.
the entire exam from top to bottom. Underline or circle any important words
that you think will be crucial in you answer. After that, calculate how much
time you should spend answering each question: this simple calculation will
take only twenty seconds and will help you organize your time. Try to save five
minutes at the end for revisions.
37. If you
are solving a written exam and not multiple choice, try as much as possible to
organize each answer in a structured way, saving two lines just to present your
line of thought and writing each different argument in a different paragraph.
Draft a conclusion at the end to underline the centre of your answer. Sometimes
softly underlining some keywords is important to make your professor notice
that you’ve correctly given importance to certain concepts.
these symbols for each question: one dot if you aren’t sure of the answer, two
dots if you are sure of your answer and a circle if you are completely unaware
of your answer. Start by answering any question with two dots; after those are
all answered, go on through the two dots question. Leave the circle questions
to the end – and ALWAYS answer them! Even if you don’t know what they’re about,
who knows if you will be able to come up with something right?
your test one final time – many times, we make a lot of mistakes under stress
and now is when you should spot them and amend them. This can be the difference
between a B and an A!
take this too seriously – school is an important aspect of our lives but it
isn’t everything. Failure comes many times and these failures can even drive
you away from something that was simply not meant to be. Don’t stress out
because everyone goes through the same!