How to Study for Exams

Before we can settle into full relaxation mode for spring break, most of us have exams coming up that we still need to power through. So, here are some of my personal study tips to help you do your absolute best!


1: Spaced Repetition

-While college schedules can get pretty crazy, if possible, try to start studying well before your actual exam date so you’re able to break up the information into smaller sections and consistently review them over long period of time. This makes your class material much less overwhelming!


2: Talk it Out

-Reading the information that you’re trying to learn out loud, or (even better) explaining it to a friend, is one of my most effective memorization techniques. By both scanning the information and hearing it aloud, your brain is forced to concentrate on the material in two different ways. This method is especially useful when you’re studying for short answer responses or essay questions!


3: Write it Down

-Research suggests that hand writing out information helps us store it more securely than when we type it. So, even if your professor moves too quickly for you to hand write notes during class, rewriting them later on, or just writing out the most important pieces, is a great way to review!


4: Stay Healthy

-While pulling all nighters can be tempting, research shows that they’ve actually been linked to impaired cognitive performance and greater sensitivity to stress. So, getting as much sleep as possible, and staying hydrated, will help you feel much more alert. Sleep is also the time when your brain moves your short term memories into long term, so doing some quick review before allowing yourself to get a full night’s sleep really lets your brain soak up the information!


5: Switch it Up

-Depending on your exam format, you may want to try different methods of studying in order to best learn the material and keep it interesting. For example, matching sets that you can make by hand, or on websites like Quizlet, are great when you need to recognize information rather than recall it. (This will be useful for multiple choice sections!) But, if you need to visually recognize an image or structure, flashcards are the best way to get them stuck in your memory.


While these methods work best for me, it may take some trial and error to figure out your favorite way to learn. Either way, try to keep your stress levels to a minimum, and remember that one exam won’t determine your entire future. So, keep it positive, and maybe keep a bottle of wine handy to celebrate when you’re done!