We all know exams are right around the corner. Many of us are still recovering from midterms and may feel like we need a break. Obviously, in order to prepare for exams we have to study. Some people study by reading their textbook, over and over and over again, others write their own notes and some use cue cards. These are just the basics.
To prepare for exams you also need to get sleep, and lots of it. This may mean you have to cut down on the late night Netflix or partying. Notice I said “cut down” not “cut out”! You can still be social and watch Netflix, as long as you make time to study as well. It is recommended we get 8-9 hours of sleep in order to function at maximum capacity. A good technique to make sure you have enough time to fit everything into your busy schedule is to set a bed time and wake up with an alarm 8-10 hours later. This ensures you have the opportunity to sleep 8 hours. Plus, by waking up with an alarm, you make sure you don’t sleep your day away.
As far as studying goes, it’s best to have short study sessions, beginning several weeks before exams. Most people try to cram a 12 hour study session in right before their exam and end up losing sleep and not remembering much. To prepare yourself for exams, try 2-4 hour study sessions. This also ensures you won’t use the excuse “I don’t have time”. Certainly, you have a couple hours at SOME point during the day to do some studying. You can also get a few people together and book a study room at the library, or go in the quiet room if you need to study in absolute silence. The idea here is to not only study for 2 hours a day (unless that’s really all you have time for). Perhaps you have a couple hours in the morning, a break between classes and some time after work to study. The idea is to break up your studying throughout the day.
If you’re like me, you have a hard time sitting in front of a book to learn. I have three different study methods that work for me.
- First, I write out some brief notes. Then I read them out loud and record them on my phone. Ta-da! You have your own personal lecture that you can listen to all day and it focuses on the specific things you have a hard time remembering. I listen to this while I walk to the bus stop, on the bus, before class, after class, whenever I have time. If I find that I need a little bit more help, I listen to the recording and read my notes out loud with it.
- Another study method I use is cue cards. Write a question or subject on the back, the answer or details on the other side and have friends or classmates quiz you. This one’s more time consuming but you can take your cue cards on the go and read them on the bus.
- My last study method is to teach someone what I’m studying. There’s a saying that goes “the best way to learn is to teach it to someone else”. This is very true. How can you teach someone something without knowing it yourself? Get your textbook and a friend (preferably not someone in your program) and start teaching them something. Explain every little detail to them. If you’re having a hard time with something, take a peek at your textbook then put it in your own words.
Of course there are many other study methods, but these are my personal favourites. If none of these work for you, you could always Google “study methods”!
Hope this helps and good luck on your exams!