It is February, and classes have been in session for a while. As I think about how quickly time has flown by and how I cannot wait for spring break, I come to the realization that midterms are, once again, fast approaching. Each semester I could hardly believe that the halfway point had already arrived, and each semester the impending midterms would cause me some stress.
So, over the years I developed some study tips. Of course, not all these tips will work for everyone, but I wanted to share some of them for student readers.
1. Attend class and READ the material you are asked to, sitting up, and in a quiet area with no distractions. Studies have shown that if someone reads or studies sitting up at a desk and then takes their test in a similar environment, it may help jog the person’s memory.
2. Learn how to take and organize notes. In a class full of terms and people to remember, it is best to set up your notes by writing them down in a way which is appealing to the eye. Use indents when taking notes, bullet points, and numbering. Sometimes it helps to highlight the terms. In my experience, long streams of notes make it hard for my eyes to focus and makes it more difficult for me to understand the notes I have taken.
3. WRITE your notes by hand. The more you write something, the more likely you may be to remember them. Typing notes is great for organization, but I think your notes are not as committed to memory when typing.
4. Study your notes over a period of time, not just the night before.
5. Ask the professor questions as the class goes along. And if you cannot ask in person, email them. At Saint Joseph’s College, the professors are there to help you! Just don’t wait until the night before the test to bombard your professor. If you do not understand something in the first days of class, it can skew your understanding of the rest of the class.
6. Studies have shown that when it comes to memorization, people tend to remember the first things on a list and the last things on a list, but not as much in the middle. My tip for you would be to focus on the middle of your notes. However, do not disregard your other notes!
7. Use mnemonic devices. Example, PEMDAS or Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally is used to remember the orders of operation in math.
8. Ask a classmate with help studying or see a peer tutor. Sometimes students can explain or relate a concept in a different light than the professor did.
9. Eat well, exercise, and get plenty of sleep the night before your quiz or test. A healthy body and rested brain will help you to retain information.
10. Do not stress too much! A little stress is okay, but too much focus on stress will distract you from studying. Just take a deep breath and relax.
These are just 10 tips to help you study and prepare for exams. Maybe not all of these will work for you, but at least you can try them out. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes we may have an “off” day and not do as well as we hoped to. If this happens, do not let it set the mood for the rest of your tests and quizzes. See them as an opportunity to fix your off day. You CAN and WILL succeed as long as you put in the effort. Just remember:
Relax. Prepare. Conquer.