As block D comes to an end, it’s time to start preparing for final exams. Not sure where to start? Follow these 9 steps to start studying smarter.
1) Get in a routine. Do yourself a favor and make a study schedule. Designate time throughout the day, like an hour after dinner or each morning to just studying. This will encourage consistency and make it easier to develop a routine. When getting started set reminders on your phone or laptop.
2) Make studying a priority. When it’s time to study, take it as seriously as you would take a job. Don’t skip study sessions, start on time, and give it 100% of your attention. Sure, motivation can be hard to find sometimes, but it will help soooo much in the bigger picture.
3) Set specific study goals. Goals give direction to a study session and provide a sense of accomplishment when completed. Create goals that can realistically be completed in a single study session, such as: Learn the terms in chapter 1, pass chapter 2's practice quiz, take notes on chapter 4 or even just review class notes for 30 minutes.
4) Create a dedicated study area. Choose an area that is free of distractions, like the quiet zone in the library basement, where you can knock out your homework assignment or start memorizing chemistry equations. Do the same in your room, we all know your desk makes a great tv stand, however, using it as your homework station will improve your grades and your mental health. Having a designated place to study equipped with everything you need – proper lighting, headphones, pens, pencils, highlighters and snacks - will keep you motivated and focused.
5) Focus on the quality of studying, not the quantity. It’s more effective to space out short study sessions, rather than pulling an all-nighter the night before. Try studying in half-hour to hour-long blocks with breaks in between. This way, you can stay alert and focused the whole time, while retaining more information.
6) Don’t just read – write it down. By typing or hand-writing information, you will engage in active learning, which improves retention and understanding. Try making flashcards, writing chapter summaries, or creating an outline of the material. As a bonus, you can refer back to what you’ve written to quickly review the material.
7) Quiz yourself to make information “stick.” Look for practice tests or discussion questions after each chapter you read. Another way to “quiz” yourself is to teach something you’ve studied to a friend, a pet, or even an inanimate object, without looking at the material. Your pup will be so excited to hear all that you've learned in microbiology!
8) A change of scenery can improve information retention. If you’re feeling unfocused, unmotivated or just plain bored, try studying somewhere new. The Bishop Mueller Library, your residence hall lounge, Heffernan Mall or the Atrium are great alternatives for breaking out of your routine.
9) Take care of your mind and body. It's proven that healthy sleep habits, exercise and a balanced diet will boost memory and brain function. Make sure to get plenty of sleep and eat some veggies in the Café or at Charged before a big exam.