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7 Study Tips You May Not Hear Everyday

I don’t know about you, but I get pretty irritated that when I ask for study tips, I get the same answers. Every. Single. Time.  Start a week in advance.  Turn your phone off.  Study in small chunks instead of cramming.  I get it.  This is not to say that these tips aren’t helpful; because indeed they are.  However, whenever someone asks for tips on studying, it is likely because the aforementioned ones aren’t working, or he/she is just looking for additional ones to supplement them.  Through the course of the past few years, I have taken note of the small strategies that have helped me prepare for exams.  Here’s what I have come up with.


  1. Flashcards are key for memorization based classes.  I find it helpful to make flashcards as soon as I finish a lecture in one of these classes.  This alleviates the stress of taking hours to make them for all of the testable material during exam time.  Also, you are far more likely to retain the information in the lecture if you look over it within 24 hours of learning it.  

  2. Utilize your school’s test bank.  Professors often tell you not to rely on past exams, so don’t use this as your sole study method.  However, it is so so helpful after you have studied the material.  This way, you get yourself comfortable with the format.  I especially find this useful for the first exams in each class at the beginning of the semester.  Although many professors change up their exams, it minimizes anxiety and ensures that you are studying the right way to know if you’re likely going to be asked multiple choice or free response questions.  

  3. Adapt the material to your learning style.  If your high school was anything like mine, your administration was sure to have you know how you learned best, whether it be through listening, seeing, etc.  If you never took the quiz in high school, there are plenty online that you can take, but odds are, by college you most likely know how you learn best.  It is important to make sure you review material in a way that is effective for you.  For example, if you are an auditory learner, it may be most helpful to invest in the audio book for your class.  Or if you’re a kinesthetic learner, making flashcards by hand will be helpful.  There is an effective method out there for all of us, it just takes some time and effort to find. 

  4. Invest in a pair of noise cancelling headphones.  I absolutely cannot study with any music or chatter, or any kind of noise for that matter.  Some people on the other hand, focus more with background music.  Either way, noise cancelling headphones are for you.  While I don’t play music with them on, I benefit from wearing them because a) people don’t bother talking to me and b) they cancel out any noise when I struggle to find a quiet study space.  If you do like noise while you study, obviously, the headphones are still beneficial to you, being that you can play music from them.

  5. Find a productive time of day.  It is often frowned upon to stay awake into night’s latest hours doing homework.  However, some people’s productivity peaks at this time.  Some, like me for example, are the opposite and have to accomplish everything in the light of day.  Both are fine, and finding your time is key to getting anything done.

  6. Make snacks ahead of time.  Our bodies burn calories frivolously while studying, which may seem like a surprise considering we are sitting in chairs for hours straight.  For this, it is important to snack during short study breaks.  Because we get so hungry, we often overeat and then we feel sick, distracting us from our course material.  This problem can be solved by making snacks ahead of time, and sticking to a healthy serving size that will give you just the right amount of energy without the upset stomach.

  7. Reward yourself.  We hear this one a lot. However, I want to discuss some of the rewards that work best in providing incentive for me to study.  For example, I will tell myself that if I study for a half hour, I can watch a YouTube video, put on a face mask, or have a snack.  If I make it through all my flashcards without missing one, I can take a half hour nap.  Rewards are based on your preferences, so whatever gets you excited to study (or finish studying) is a good choice.

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