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Tips to Improve your Studying Habits

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JMU chapter.

Let’s face it—No one likes to study. But unfortunately for us, it’s a crucial part of college. We’ve all been there before…It’s the night before a big test, and you’re in the library cramming all of the information that you can into your brain because you’ve procrastinated until the last minute, with your fourth cup of coffee in hand. Here are some tips that can help prevent scenarios like this one, and hopefully result in getting a good grade!

1. Write it Down: At the beginning of the year (or now, if you haven’t done so already), take a look at the class’s syllabus and mark off in your planner when any big assignments are due for the whole semester. Highlight it, underline it, put stars next to it—anything that will be a reminder for you when you’re looking at your upcoming deadlines.

2. Distribute your Time: Don’t wait until the night before to study for a test. It’s scientifically proven that cramming isn’t a good strategy, guys. Give your self at least three days before the test to allow your brain the time it needs to fully digest the material. Mentally plan what you’ll study each day so that you’re not overwhelmed by an entire notebook of notes all at once.

3. Use notecards: I know they’re annoying to make, but they’re extremely worth it in the end. Just reading over your past notes can give you a false sense of retained knowledge. Instead, forcing yourself to perform memory retrieval boosts your long- term memory.

4. Drink Water: I know we all love the fast kick of energy that coffee gives us, but too much of it can actually have the opposite effect through dehydration. Dehydration can eventually cause fatigue, and no one wants to be tired while studying for long periods of time. Try decreasing your coffee intake to one cup per study session, and then switch over to water to keep yourself hydrated and mentally prepared.

5. Keep your phone out of reach: Study breaks are fine, but your phone can easily become a distraction, especially when you’re constantly checking it while studying. Keep it in your backpack until you leave the library and when taking a study break, instead of heading straight to Instagram, take a short walk around the library, grab a drink, or just stand up and stretch! You’ll feel more de-stressed afterwards and ready to get back to business.

Aleixka has a B.A. in Media Arts and Design and a minor in Spanish from James Madison University. She loves all things books, traveling, food, and photography.