How to Study Quickly and Efficiently for Your Exams
Easy Tips & Tricks for College Students!
With the school season already upon us and the looming threat of upcoming exams already casting shadows of doubt into the minds of even the best and brightest, it may be a wise idea to buckle down and get into a rhythm of studying instead of slacking.
Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done. How do you avoid the common pitfalls of becoming sidetracked or falling into multitasking? As it turns out, having a routine and knowing how to study efficiently can be the difference between a stellar GPA and another semester taking remedial courses.
So if you’re looking for proven tips on how to get into the rhythm of proper studying habits without making massive changes to your daily life, read on! Even if you’ve already left college you may find a useful and informative way to focus on important tasks in your everyday life.
1. Set Good Habits Before You Reach College
This one may be a little late, but those of you looking to enter college anew won’t be surprised to learn that good studying habits are easier to start sooner rather than later.
College is a hectic time in almost every student’s life that marks the beginning of the transition to adulthood. New responsibilities pour in on an almost daily basis and adapting to a freer life than one had just a year prior can lead to a bevy of unhealthy habits. If you begin studying properly before you’re forced to work it into an already stressful time in your life there’s a solid chance you’ll keep up with it as you go along!
2. Avoid Distractions
Distractions will be the death of your studying habits if you let them weasel into your routine. Studying without multitasking is one of the easiest ways to see immediate results in your grades. Social media is an especially egregious offender, considering how even the shortest glances can lead into short binges that chew into valuable research time you could otherwise be utilizing efficiently.
Finding a way to study efficiently might mean a sabbatical from electronics in a quiet room or it could be as simple as silencing your phone for an hour or two every week. Knowing what distracts you is the first step to finding a smoother studying process.
3. Study Actively, Not Passively
Information retention jumps significantly when you review what you’ve been taught within a day of learning new information. It’s a simple way to boost your studying effectiveness, but you shouldn’t just stop at re-reading your notes!
Engage your mind by actively studying. Find a way to turn your studying into an interactive experience rather than a rehash of what you’ve already seen: Rewrite your notes to help cement the information in your memory, create flash cards to engage your quizzical side or find a way to link new information to your life experiences. If you can relate to it and engage with it, you’ll likely remember it better!
4. Eliminate Procrastination Problems
Starting a task can be infinitely more difficult than finishing one. In a fit of irony, you may find studying to be a short and simple exercise, but still spend hours putting it off for fear of the stress it causes! Managing and avoiding procrastination can help you study more effectively but also free up time in your schedule to do things you actually enjoy.
In order to stop procrastinating, make sure that you set yourself some deadlines, eliminate any distraction and start studying whenever you feel most efficient. Think about all the fun things you’ll be able to do once you get it done! Visualizing the reward will make you feel more focused and determined to finish the study session as soon as possible.
In short, dive into your studying instead of putting it off and ensure you reward yourself for your good habits. Positive reinforcement can do wonders for a worried mind.
5. Skip to the End, then Review
Imagine the following scenario: You’re tasked with learning an entire chapter’s worth of information for a quiz. Simple, right? You sit down with your textbook, crack it open to the appropriate section, give it a read-through and then call it quits. As it turns out, an unfocused read-through of material can be massively underwhelming when it comes to getting real results in your quiz and test scores.
By knowing what key information is important to absorb and what can be discarded, you might find yourself scoring better and wasting less time fretting over unimportant details. Refer to the end of your source material for its summary of what you should have learned from the chapter before setting out to read.
6. Don’t Cram!
Pushing information into your short-term memory isn’t as effective as carefully studying and memorizing over the long term. Although many students practice this method, it appears that cramming the night before doesn’t always have the desired results.
Trying to memorize information in a stressful environment doesn’t pay off, as our brain will not perform optimally. According to cognitive psychology, there is a big difference between deep and shallow learning. Deep processing of information stimulates long-term memory, while shallow processed information will only be remembered in the form of words without meaning.
Aside from this, it’s good to know that sleep deprivation affects your academic performance. Sleep is crucial for brain function and plays a key role in the consolidation of memories. Therefore, if you must stay up late studying, you need to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
Life may get in the way, but if you find yourself constantly cramming the night before exams to catch up with old material you may need to re-examine your studying habits!
Unfortunately, there is no top-secret method that will make you study quickly and efficiently without putting in the necessary time and dedication to bettering yourself, but the road to self-improvement is a worthwhile one. College doesn’t last forever and you’ll be out in the real world soon enough, but make sure you enjoy the time you have as best you can without keeping your nose in a book all night long!
Author Bio: Amanda Wilks is a Boston University graduate and a School Choices contributing author. As a motivational writer, she is focused on education and social activism and she writes on these topics as often as possible. Visit Amanda’s Twitter for more of her writings.
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