Cramming for finals, writing papers galore and trying to make sure that your biology exam didn’t completely destroy your GPA can be a rough task for all of us, particularly freshmen. With finals week finally here, instead of solving calculus problems in your head during your sleep, here’s a list of study tips that will prepare you to successfully face any exam and leave you with a calculus-free good night’s rest.
Study space alternatives
According to The New York Times, “memory is colored by location so changing your study locales increases the likeliness of remembering what you studied.”
If you’re used to studying only in the Glenn G. Bartle Library, pick a classroom in the Student Wing. Or go off campus to Barnes & Noble — they brew Starbucks coffee and have a lounge. Wherever you decide to study, try to avoid studying all your subjects in the same place. Get creative. At least, you’ll avoid becoming bored in the same setting.
We all hate group projects, but never underestimate the power of numbers. If the material is over your head, it’s helpful to work in peer study groups. Study groups are also convenient if there’s a lot of information to be covered. It’s more effective to have a divide-and-conquer mentality than attempt to complete a study guide on your own.
If you’re afraid to ask for help or to start a group, you’re probably not the only one struggling. Remember, the student who is taking the time to tutor you gets the chance to review the information again. So everybody wins. You may even make a new friend or two.
Resume a daily lifestyle
Although it is important to put in hours hitting the books and preparing for an exam, it is equally important to live life as normally as you can.
Keren Schieber, a junior majoring in biology, recalled her professor giving her similar advice.
“Dr. K [an organic chemistry professor] told me to leave room for stuff I want to do, like work out or have lunch with friends,” Schieber said. “Don’t lock yourself in the library all day, you know?”
Apply concepts to your life
According to a study at Kenyon College, if you apply the concepts you are learning in class to your life — a hobby or something you care about — you are more likely to remember them.
Kaitlin Lynch, a senior majoring in biology, reviews for exams by applying concepts as well.
“It helps me to remember what I’ve learned in class if I apply that information to my life,” Lynch said. “If I get a question on the exam that requires me to think critically about a concept I learned, I feel that I’m more likely to remember it if I related that concept to something personal.”
Study in time intervals
Many studies have concluded cramming isn’t the right way to study. Kenyon College asserted, “You can remember and learn a lot more information by reading and reviewing information than by cramming before an exam.”
However, it’s understandable if you can’t prepare for all of your exams weeks in advance. If you have to cram for exams, and even if you don’t, study for 45 minutes and take 15-minute breaks. It’s been proven that concentration, comprehension and memory progressively decrease after 45 minutes of solid studying, according to Kenyon College.
Be prepared the morning of an exam
Get dressed for an exam. It’s not necessary to dress business casual, but take the time to get out of your pajamas and into day clothing. A pair of jeans and a shirt will suffice. By getting dressed, you are instilling confidence in yourself and are ready to face that exam.
Finally, eat a healthy protein-filled breakfast. Kenyon College reported that “protein will make you sharper and more alert,” while going to an exam on an empty stomach or eating something high in carbohydrates will “slow you down and make your mind more sluggish.” So make sure you have a nutritious breakfast before taking an exam.