My Top Five Study Hacks

The spring semester has begun, and many of us are working hard to adapt to the rhythm of school after break. From balancing extracurricular activities to taking care of our wellbeing amidst a pandemic, it can feel daunting to experience the stress of preparing for exams and papers yet again. With that being said, there are several tips and tricks available to help you glide through the studying process with productivity and grace. These tokens of advice extend beyond the cliche, “stop procrastinating,” or “be organized” phrases that you may have heard in the past. Here are the top five study hacks that will help you kill it during the spring 2021 semester!

  1. 1. Time Yourself

    Timing yourself during your study sessions is one of the most effective ways to be productive and avoid wasting valuable time. Consider studying in twenty or thirty-minute segments, each with three to five- minute breaks in between. Then, apply all of your undivided focus and attention into those twenty to thirty-minute sessions. Timing yourself is especially helpful for those who work well under pressure because you will constantly see the timer run out, motivating you to complete your assignments quickly and efficiently. Taking breaks between these timed sessions must not be overlooked, however, because they are meant to prevent burnout. During your breaks, consider doing something that will relax your mind, such as drinking water or stretching. After your break, go right back to timing yourself until you have completed your goals for that study session.

  2. 2. Practice Retrieval Techniques

    In order to be a successful test-taker, you must be able to quickly and efficiently retrieve information. Since an exam requires you to possess strong retrieval skills, it is crucial that you create shortcuts in your mind during your study sessions. Examples of shortcuts include making mnemonics with memorable, unique, or even strange words, associating ideas with images or personal memories, or taking practice tests where you are exposed to similar material in test form over and over again. These shortcuts exercise and improve your retrieval skills, which will then help you pinpoint specific concepts and ideas from your coursework during an exam.

  3. 3. Motivate Yourself with Rewards

    Woman in White Bed Holding Remote Control While Eating Popcorn

    A fun, and often underrated, study hack is to reward yourself throughout the studying process. To do so, the first step is to plan ahead. When you know that an exam is approaching, write down your study goals for each day leading up to that test. In between those days, be sure to include rewards for yourself, which could come in the form of eating your favorite food, spending time with your best friend, watching a new movie, or really anything that brings you joy. Many people have a tendency to make themselves more stressed and miserable than necessary. If you include rewards along the way, you will have things to look forward to and motivate you along the way, making your study process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

  4. 4. Exercise Regularly

    three women on the floor working out

    Staying active is crucial. Exercising helps not only maintain physical fitness, but also improves mental health and wellbeing. In fact, scientific studies have proven that exercise provides a plethora of benefits to students. Outside of health benefits, however, exercising also teaches you a vital life skill that you can use in several areas of your life: resilience. Exercise helps you develop resilience, which you can then transfer into your study sessions. Resilience helps motivate you to keep going, even when you feel like you can’t continue. With that being said, don’t feel the need to create complex workouts. Aim to engage in at least one activity a day, whether it be a morning run or a gym session with some friends. After you get in the habit of exercising, you’ll soon see that you can no longer go without it!

  5. 5. Cater to Your Learning Style

    Woman writing notes

    One of the biggest mistakes you can make in school is to study in a way that doesn’t fit your specific learning style. To prevent this from happening, you need to determine which type of learner you are. You can do this by taking an online learning style quiz or by analyzing your past experiences. Are you someone who grasps material more easily when it’s in the form of a graph or diagram? If so, you are most likely a visual learner. Are you someone who catches onto podcasts or a professor’s voice? You may be an auditory learner. Are you much more productive around other people? You may be a collaborative learner. The sooner you cater to your specific learning style, the sooner you will see your study sessions becoming more productive!

As you progress through the semester, and especially when you approach exam season, keep these study hacks in mind. Best of luck this spring; you’ll do great!

Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets!