General Tips for Studying

My Twitter feed has been full of exams lately. It seems that everyone is in the midst of their exam period right now and my exams are coming up as well. As I was never properly studying in school I was kind of thrown into the deep end in my first semester at uni. Luckily, you can find a ton of tips for studying on the internet. Some of those I found really helpful like colour coding and scheduling, others didn´t work for me. After 1.5 years I think I´ve finally found my study rhythm. As everyone is different and has different preferences for studying I´ve made a list of general tips that will be useful for everyone.

Start Early
Yeah, I know that´s what everyone says but it is really important. Your brain can´t memorize everything in a day or two. It needs time and repetition to process. Personally, I try to keep up with all my uni work from the start of the semester. I like to write a summary for every subject so that´s what I´ll do every week. I have a lot of friends who only start halfway through the semester and they´re pretty much stressed from that point on. I, however, can take a day off if I have to. Starting early honestly saves you so much stress!

Plan Ahead
Time flies by and suddenly the semester is almost over and exams are only a week away. To spare yourself that kind of stress you can just plan far ahead. I like to write down everything I have to do for a subject and set myself a date by which it should be done. This way I know that it´ll all be ready in time to start memorizing it. If I mark these things in my calendar as well I can make sure that I don´t accidentally plan something in my study time.

Technology Is Your Friend
I used to write summaries and flashcards by hand. Not only took this a very long time but these things can hardly be edited (and in my case it´s not very readable). Writing on my laptop saves me so much time that I can then use to memorize the content. Also I found a way to print out my flashcards which again saves me a lot of time. If you´ve found your way of studying think ahead and find technology that´ll help you get everything you need more effectively.

Find Your Perfect Schedule
Everyone has their own biological clock which determines when you´re the most awake and how much sleep you need. I can work better in the morning and need 8-9 hours of sleep. As soon as you know that, try to schedule your study days after your inner clock. I like to get up at 8.30 am, start studying at 9am, take a break from 1-2pm and finish by 9pm, so that I can go to bed at 10.30pm. As long as I stick to that schedule I feel fresh and relaxed in the morning and can work through the whole day.

No Music
I love music. I´m always listening to music. But there´s one thing I´ve learned: Music while studying only works under certain circumstances. Several studies show that you need a high working memory capacity, the music needs to fit the content and the music can´t have any speech in it. Only under these circumstances will you benefit from music in the background. So my tip is to turn off the music once you start studying. Listen to it in your breaks instead.

Tidy, Tidy, Tidy
I don´t know how often I´ve heard "Tidy room, tidy mind" but again, this is so true. I know I don´t have time to do any actual cleaning during my exam period. So instead I try to do little chunks of tidying everyday. When I get up I clean everything off my desk that I don´t need. In my lunch break I clean everything that´s lying on my floor. That way I don´t have to do a great cleaning session but feel much more comfortable in my room with minimal effort.

Get Your Friends Involved
Honestly, friend are the best source of motivation. You can question each other or just sit together silently while reading your summaries. If learning with friends is a good idea, depends on how easily you get distracted by the latest gossip because that´s not what the time is for. One thing I do love is comparing your answers from an old exam or the practice questions. Nothing shows more if you´ve understood something than a healthy discussion about it. Also it´ll very much boost your confidence if you all got the same answer.

Take Breaks
Not taking any breaks was the worst mistake I made in my first semester. When I got home after my exam period I basically couldn´t move for two months. My body and my mind were just done. You need to allow your body and your mind to find some rest. You don´t have to take a whole day off and make it a spa day. I think that´ll only stress you more because you´re not doing anything. Instead plan a longer lunch break or meet friends for tea every few days. One thing I like to do everyday is taking a walk. Even if it´s just 15 minutes around your block. The fresh air helps so much to get a clear head and the exercise is great for your body. Also I like to have a set time to finish in the evening so that I still have some time to relax and to bring my mind and body some rest before bed.

Honestly, we all hate exam period. I think it´s too much stress to put on young people and mostly, everything is deleted from your memory once the exam is over. But we can´t change it. Just remember that every exam period only lasts for a few weeks and then you´ve done it. Also here´s a secret tip: I like to treat myself after each exam which a new lipstick or something I´m craving. That has definitely helped me to stay motivated. I know I can talk with my good grades and all but believe me when I say as long as you´re healthy, happy and good at your job later, nobody will care if you messed up a few exams!

1 comment

  1. These are amazing tips. I used to use flashcards & handwriting them took forever. I don't know why never thought about typing them up. :]

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