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Best Studying Tips of All Time

a group of students study at an table outside of their library

Exams can cause tremendous stress. Not knowing what to expect and how you'll do on them can be nerve-wracking. But have no fear! After learning these study tips and tricks, you will feel ready to take on anything. Practice them, and you'll be prepared to tackle that exam in no time.

Pace Yourself As You Study

Studying is a marathon, not a sprint. If you've ever procrastinated studying for a test until the last possible moment, you know that anxiety and pressure may cause a poor outcome. If you have several chapters of information to get into your head, don't try to learn it all at once. Once you know the date of an exam, create a study schedule. Something like 2-3 chapters at a time or one hour of studying a night is a good starting point.

Make a Study Schedule

Be sure to stick to your schedule. Include review time, in the end, to go over all the material at least twice. This also applies to general studying, in that blocking out a few hours every week will help establish good studying habits when important exams and projects come around. Treat these hours like you would an actual class and include this study time in your weekly routine.

Keep Things Familiar for Test Day

If you know where your finals will be held and you can study there, do it. Taking a test in a familiar environment will make it easier and less stressful to take your exam and help you recall the information you've studied. If you aren't completely sure where the test will be or can't access it for studying, find an environment that will be similar to the test day.

Study With a Friend

There is strength in numbers, and that applies to studying effectively. Have a friend quiz you or work with a tutor to discuss the material. Hearing and speaking information and having previously read it can help you retain the material.

Use Study Tricks & Resources

Don't forget tools like mnemonic devices, color coding, flashcards, and audio recordings. Using a couple of these methods at a time can break up the monotony of studying and keep your brain sharp as it ingests information. For example, using flashcards for vocabulary words and a mnemonic device for their meaning can separate the study session into more manageable parts.

Listen to Recorded Lectures

Listening to recorded lectures is helpful, especially if you're reviewing the notes you took along with them. This is a great way to refresh some topics you may have studied months ago and forgotten about. 

Make Studying Fun

Try the candy trail method if you need a little motivation to read books or lengthy passages. Place a bite-sized piece of candy, such as M&Ms, Reese's Pieces, Skittles, Junior Mints, or gummy bears, beside every paragraph on the page. Once you finish reading each section, reward yourself by eating that piece of candy. Positive reinforcement is a great way to motivate you and help you learn. If you don't have a sweet tooth or prefer to avoid sugar, choose something bite-sized that you enjoy, like pretzels, dried fruit, nuts, or crackers.

Keep Your Notes Clean 

Focusing is hard if your notes are messy and covered in scribbled-out words. Rewrite your notes to keep them neat, or type them out to ensure you can understand what you're reading. 

Play Some Music

While music is an excellent stimulant for our brains, some music can overwhelm and exhaust them. That said, not all music is bad for studying. If you dislike the silence of a library or your roommate won't turn the TV off, try putting in some headphones and listening to classical or instrumental music while studying. 

Study Old Exams

Save your old tests if possible - they're great for studying! You can either retake old tests to review the material or just focus on the questions you previously got wrong. 

Color Code Your Notes

Try taking notes and doing homework assignments with colored pens, markers, and highlighters. The colorful notes could improve your visual memory and allow you to access information from your brain during an exam more efficiently. Plus, having organized, color-coded notes makes reading them much easier!

Teach A Friend

What happens if you have difficulty finding a way to explain your answers or put your thoughts into words? Lecture the material to a friend, as this allows you to train and prepare your mind to explain complex topics. It's beneficial if your final consists of a speech or presentation. 

Use Scents to Keep Your Mind Sharp

Put a little bit of perfume, cologne, essential oil, body spray, body mist, or scented lotion on while you're studying, and then put on the same scent when you're going to take the quiz or exam. The smell will trigger the memory you stored in your brain while studying. Try a scent that you don't have a lot of association with already. Calming scents like lavender may help you relax, as well as recall information.

Chewing flavored gum is another excellent trigger for your brain. The flavor and texture of the gum may help you retrieve information from your brain. For best results, try a flavor that you're unfamiliar with.

Take a Break From Studying

The best way to maintain study habits is to keep a healthy lifestyle outside of academics. Marathon hours of studying without breaks, proper nutrition or exercise will be less effective than giving yourself some time off between sessions.

In addition to scheduling the components of a study session, include a break or two. For example, take a brisk walk, drink plenty of water throughout, enjoy a music break, or spend some time with a pet or a friend. All these tips help with managing your stress and keeping anxiety at bay. Create a study/life balance that will benefit your academic and social life. 

All Your Studying Will Pay Off

As you make your way through high school, college will likely be the end game that's on your mind. Check out our college majors quiz to get a better idea of the types of college majors out there and which might be a good fit for you. You'll answer a few questions about your working style, personality, and interests and then see possible majors and career options. Simply click the button below to get started. 

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