Studying = student + dying. If only studying for exams can be as exciting and lovable as looking at puppies – Awww! Well, great news. We’ve rounded up the top study hacks to ace your exams – and make it more fun! So keep reading.
1. Don’t learn by rote.
This is a no-brainer. Blindly memorizing doesn’t work; understand instead. For example, we can paraphrase this text:
A is B.
So, B is A.
2. Memorize only if there’s no other option.
Like the year event X happened, or the order of the elements in the Periodic Table. Memorize by making it memorable. For instance, check out this cool Harry Potter mnemonics for the elements in the Periodic Table.
3. Make it as interactive as possible.
Reading through the material isn’t the best way to remember what you learned. Instead, teach your friends, join a study group, create flash cards, or draw diagrams.
4. Set goals to motivate yourself.
Yes, we all need that. There is nothing more demotivating than NOT knowing the end-purpose of your battles to read that history essay.
So set specific goals – and aim high! As we all know, the results are usually lower than our expectations.
For example, this isn’t specific enough: “I want to get good grades.”
Instead, say: “I will score above A for all subjects.”
5. Manage your time well by scheduling.
Time to allocate blocks of time to study! And of course, don’t forget to schedule breaks in between.
Scheduling helps us to keep track of our activities. Keep in mind, though, that your schedule must be reasonable. Turns out, we tend to overestimate what we can get done in a day.
6. Take breaks.
So how long should we study before taking breaks? According to a research done by The Muse, the ideal work time is in bursts of 52 minutes, followed by 17 minutes of rest. Random numbers indeed.
7. Kiss procrastination goodbye.
Ah, the temptations to procrastinate. We college students have perfected the fine art of procrastination since high school. We procrastinate to avoid studying and sometimes delay sleep too.
But chances are, procrastination increases our chance to ace the exams by … 0.1%. Not good. So how exactly can we overcome procrastination?
Let’s remember Nike’s tagline – Just do it.
That’s right! Just take that first small step, and you’ll find yourself keep going.
8. Find your best study method – no matter how weird it is.
Everyone’s study preference is different. Most of my friends either study by reading aloud or rewriting everything. Me? I stare deeply into the heart of the textbooks. It bewilders both my friends and family. But hey, it works for me! So why not?
9. Revise, revise, and revise.
That’s the key to remembering what you learned!
10. Whiteboards are your friends.
After you’ve gotten familiar with the material you’re studying, one of the best things to do is to become the professor. Jot down a topic on a white board and try to explain it out loud to yourself. Not only are you studying, but you’re also making yourself comfortable with the material without your notes. For math and science classes, work through your practice problems on whiteboards.
11. Hide in a study room.
One of the great things about Rutgers is that there is an abundance of study rooms with whiteboards. Study rooms are great study hacks because they give you privacy with little to no distractions, so you can easily stay organized and focused. If you’re on Livingston, try booking a Kilmer Library study room, heading to the student center lounge, or heading over to the Tillett Learning Center. College Ave and Cook/Douglass also have study rooms with whiteboards that you can book online here.
12. Chew gum before your exam.
People always say chewing gum helps you study, and I always wondered about the actual science behind that. Well, according to Live Science, chewing gum actually does help with test performance, but only if chewed correctly. The site suggests chewing gum BEFORE your exam and not during, because it will actually trigger your memory for a short period of time and may help with your overall test performance.
13. Treat yo’self.
One of the best study hacks for staying motivated while studying is to reward yourself. After you’ve finished a chapter or a set of problems, take out a piece of candy, listen to your favorite song, browse Facebook, or quickly turn your attention to your favorite Netflix show that you’re currently binge watching. I recommend setting a timer on your phone for 15 to 20 minutes for this break to keep you on track.
14. Plan, plan, plan!
Plan out your study time. This is one of the most important study hacks! Before you start studying, grab a piece of paper and plan out how and what you will study. It’s easy if you use when, where, why, what and how. All of these questions should be answered ahead of time so when you finally sit down to be productive, you know exactly what you need to accomplish.
15. Use the active recall method.
Recently I stumbled upon an author named Cal Newport. Newport introduced the studying method of “active recall.” Active recall is similar to the whiteboard method. Instead of reading and trying to memorize – which Newport refers to as passive recall – try to dig into your brain and explain the concept on your own. This method is really difficult because you really have to think deeply to understand the concept you are trying to explain. Though it is difficult, Newport said while his friends were in the library studying and memorizing for finals, he was finished in about 30 minutes per day.
16. Listen to some tunes.
One of my favorite things to do while studying is to listen to instrumental music in the background. Silence while studying is not my thing, and I find that I’m better focused with some background noise. Try searching for a genre of music that helps keep you relaxed and focused. My favorite is the Harry Potter score!
17. Exams are over – Rejoice!
Just think of all the fun things you can do once you have studied hard.
“Wait for me, Buzzfeed! I’m coming for chu.”
Plus, you can sleep as much as you want, attend concerts, draw pandas, read horoscopes, geek out at the latest tech trend, have a chili-eating competition with your friends … whatever you feel like.
Yup, do those 10 things, and you will ace your exams. Good luck!
Do you know of any other good study hacks? Let us know below!
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College student at GS FAME Institute of Business - Loves design, tech, books, and writing (obviously!) - Addicted to everything oozing cuteness