Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Edited by: Tara Doraiswamy

Sitting on my desk with yet another test approaching me, I wonder where I’m going wrong. My laptop screen illuminates back at me with no answer. I read through all my notes,  research all the topics and  understand all the concepts before I sit down to write the exam. Yet, there is always something that throws me off and the results inevitably disappoint me. With two unfavorable test results, it was time to make a change.

Retracing my academic life, I wonder how I studied before. Looking back, I realised that we’ve all had a long break from educational institutes during the pandemic. Some of us were still in school and missed maybe the entirety of our eleventh and twelfth grades, some of us missed our last year of school and the first year of college, or worst yet 2 years of college. Board exams were cancelled or extremely delayed and we got very comfortable at home (an introvert’s dream!). However, there was the disaster that was online education. It did have its perks with recorded lectures to catch every word the professor is saying and replay as many times as you’d like or sleep through your 8.30s with no hindrance to your attendance. No dressing up, no commute to classes and no scrambling time for meals; it all became very comfortable.  All tests also became open-book with some professors even being much more lenient on their classes. On the flip side, learning as a whole declined tremendously. It was difficult to pay attention in class without a physical classroom and a classmate to ask doubts when you get lost. Slowly and steadily, I forgot how to study.

Now, we’re back to square one. I’m giving up slowly; I have a tab of a digital copy of Molecular Biology of the Cell and another of YouTube open. YouTube was initially open to browse through videos to clarify some mechanisms but now it was simply a leisurely exercise. I was watching anything from random compilation videos of Modern Family, a show I have never seen but I would be able to name all its characters, to YouTube shorts of a girl styling a garbage bag. It was a pure distraction causing my descent into uselessness until a familiar name popped up; Ali Abdal. Finally, the YouTube algorithm had brought me to a path of productivity. Well, not entirely. It was a video about the Evidence Based Tips To Find Love, but hear me out- Ali Abdal is the god of productivity, I was confused as to how he found himself distracted by love. It was like catching up with an old friend in a while, not like a para social relationship at all- nope, nothing to be concerned about. To my surprise, not only had the man made a video on the topic, but he had also pursued love in real life! Following that little catch up session, I tuned into his main content and began relearning the art of learning. Specifically, rewatching How to study for exams – Evidence-based revision tips, and it all came rushing back to me.

Here I was sitting with a textbook open highlighting with different colours, simply giving myself the semblance of learning. It is better than nothing, but it was by no means the most efficient way to study. It was also a path of struggle as it may not always be easy to visualize or textbooks may not be the easiest to digest. Why was I not looking through online resources and videos to further my understanding? However, my roommate mirrored my frustration; Why was I looking through these slides over and over like it would suddenly speak to me!?

I should be going through questions, looking for any quizzes online or even in the textbook itself. Active recall will always help me in exam environments so I wouldn’t go completely blank. I should be doing blurts or writing down all that I know in a mindmap or otherwise without a book open to solidify your learnings. Making notes is not as efficient of a method but writing out your notes without a book would help more. Anticipate questions for your test and write out answers- you never know, they may just come up and you’ll have the upper hand immediately. Use flashcards. Don’t think of studying as a chore (harder said than done sometimes but worth a try).

A new perspective and techniques in hand, back to studying.

Her Campus Placeholder Avatar
Simran Wadan

Ashoka '24

Simran Kaur Wadan is a first year at Ashoka University. In her free time, she picks a hobby to adopt and maybe sleeps.