Remember in highschool when we actually had the time and leisure to study and stay on track with our homework? Yea well, times have definitely changed once we hit college. A typical college student works 30+ hours, has a boyfriend or girlfriend, & tons of other obligations. No one said college was easy, but no one also said it would be this damn time consuming!
Being a college student for the last 5 years, I have become accustomed to a certain type of studying that has lead me to be an Honor Roll student (yea, I’m smarter than you think!). The way I study has become a natural routine that has helped to keep my stress levels low. Juggling work and a social life is hard enough, so essays and tests are the last thing I want to worry about. Below are a few study tips of mine that have helped me over the years & I hope they become helpful to you as well.
Do not cram studying all in one day: I know it’s tempting, but absolutely DO NOT DO IT. We all have procrastinating tendencies but leaving things to the very last minute is beyond stressful and completely not worth it. Being an adult with a busy schedule, things come up all the time. What if you get invited to a really cool event and all your friends are going. Well guess what? You won’t be able to go because you need to study! Plan for the future and study gradually throughout the week. The day before your test should be a final review, not a total memorization challenge.
Steer clear of flash cards: This is such a waste of time… and a waste of paper, might I add. I used to do flash cards throughout community college and I finally had a revelation about how much time I was spending rewriting all my notes. Arguably, sometimes when you rewrite your notes it can be a trick for retaining information, however think about how much time you are wasting. For a big test, I used to spend 4 hours writing note cards…. not including the time I needed to mesmerize them after! My trick: type your notes on your computer during lecture, print it out & use it like flash cards. When a test date approaches, I print out all my notes and study in sections. I cover up the different sections of the paper and try to summarize each before I move on to the next section. It becomes highly more organized, structured, and time efficient rather than allotting time to write out flash cards.
Say it out loud: This is my #1 study tip & to me the most helpful. Even though writing down or typing notes is one way to retain information, when it comes to mesmerizing the material for a test, I have found saying it out loud to be the most effective. I choose a room in my house that is quiet, yet cozy, & make it my own little quarantine until I learn most of the study guide. For the next few hours I will go over numerous test topics and speak out loud summarizing the information. Speaking out loud about the topics helps me tremendously to mesmerize the material because it makes me feel like I am teaching myself the information in my own way. I am using my voice to explain it in my own words which helps to simplify the complicated material. I am training my ears to hear the information and retain it—usually by repeating the same fact numerous times. P.S. Starbucks or libraries are typically not the location of choice for this tip. We don’t want a librarian yelling at you to be quiet or bystanders at starbucks giving you some funky stare downs.
Have an incentive: I like to have incentives for things that I do. If you were to look up studying in the dictionary, you wouldn’t see enjoyable, pleasurable, or fun being its’ synonyms. It is up to you to make this time-consuming process a bit more bearable. Have an incentive like “after I finish this section I will go treat myself to some lunch with a friend” or “after I finish studying I will go do something fun”. This way, you combine obligations with things you enjoy. You are balancing your life effectively in a way that doesn’t make you resent the time you are taking to study. You also tend to finish studying that much faster.
Do not study at night: Night time is associated with sleep. When you have just had a long day of work, class, and other obligations- the last thing you want to do is study. You are already in a tired state of mind which will affect how successful you are with mesmerizing information. You want to be fully awake instead of constantly dozing off or buying your 3rd cup of coffee to stay awake. It’s not only unhealthy to do this, but imagine how cranky you are the next day when you’re running on a few hours of sleep. When you study during the day, you are more focused and determined rather than drowsy and dreading the long night ahead.
Finals are just around the corner… try out these tips if you are looking to avoid all that unnecessary stress and anxiety 😉