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5 things you can do to study more effectively

study techniques to improve study habits

Is it time for that exam?  You’re weeks into the semester, and it’s time for an exam.  Don’t panic! These five tips and strategies will help you ace it.

  1. Prepare to study: Be sure you have your study materials and an understanding of the type of test or means of assessment. Preparedness will allow you to focus on evaluating your materials and mentally prepare for a certain type of exam.  
  2. Consult multiple sources: Be sure to review your lecture notes from class, the course textbook, and any other supplemental information provided.  This strategy will ensure that you have consulted numerous sources to further reinforce the information.
  3. Designate time to study:   Studies have shown that last minute cramming for exams does not work. As the exam approaches, set aside time each day for at least a week in advance to prepare in distraction free environments. Focus on different aspects or information each day while also spending time each day on the difficult content.  Spending time each day on the most difficult content will further reinforce that information toward understanding.  
  4. Ask for help when you need it: Ask your instructor or fellow classmates for help. These individuals would be most familiar with the course content. It may seem strange to ask a friend or loved one for help when they are not taking this class, but these individuals may further help you by creating creative ways to remember the content. While she was not in my class, my mom would always come up with rhymes or word associations for me to remember information!
  5. Relax: Too often we get stressed at the thought of the exam, which only further increases our anxiety and self-doubt. You have prepared for this. On exam day, get to the room early, take some deep breaths, and trust yourself. Make sure you have what you need for the exam (i.e. a pen or pencil, calculator, etc). You are ready to ace this exam!

Rather than fearing an exam, think of an exam as an opportunity to demonstrate mastery and understanding of course content.  This is your opportunity to show the instructor that you are making connections and comprehending the course content. Be prepared and aware of course expectations, spend the time consulting your materials, and get help when needed.  While you may think you are alone since you are in that room taking the exam, you do have an extended network of support that includes your instructors, fellow classmates, friends, and loved ones that will help you achieve success. You are on your way to earning your degree. Each exam brings you closer to your educational goals.   

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