Studying is one of the most frustrating aspects of school.
Whether it’s high school or college, there’s no way to escape the periodic tests that are thrown your way. Students spend hours prepping just to make sure they receive a passing grade. Tests and quizzes can impact your grade, so they need to be taken seriously.
It’s stressful to study. Sometimes, you’re working down to the wire. You forgot to study, and there you are, the night before, cramming as much as possible. Other times, you spend days working for a single test only to get there and find out you studied the wrong thing.
That’s why I’m here to offer some study tips for your semester. I’ve spent years in school and have garnered plenty of advice.
First and most importantly, don’t procrastinate. The easy solution to cramming is starting early. This is easier to say than do. I’ve had plenty of sleepless nights from cramming. Every single one taught me to avoid going through one again.
The best way to avoid procrastination is through planning. We tend to procrastinate because we assume the due date is far off. Instead, if you keep that due date at the forefront of your mind and plan studying up to it, it’s much harder to hold off. I keep a white board above my desk that lists when my tests are. Then, if I look and notice an exam coming up, I start figuring out when I can study.
Another tip is to use your phone’s reminder system. It’s definitely one of the most underrated apps already downloaded onto your device. Just set a reminder and put a date on it. Then, whenever you need to remember something, an insufferable white banner will appear, notifying you that you to take care of it. It doesn’t go away until you check it off your to-do list.
The amount of work you put into planning is totally up to you. For me, once I know when my exams are, I just keep them in mind and fit in some studying whenever I get the chance. Other people like to section out specific time blocks to ensure they do work.
Beyond planning study times, Starbucks has become my study pal.
It’s possible I’ve classically conditioned myself to associate coffee with studying, but it’s become useful to me. Whenever I need to do a ton of studying at once, I make sure to grab a coffee and go to a place where I can work (either a Starbucks, a library, or another cute study spot). By having coffee, not only do I stay awake, but it’s a reward for my hard work. I end up looking forward to studying because I know I’ll be able to get a coffee with it.
If you’re not a coffee fan, you can substitute it with something else you like such as tea or food. Treating yourself while studying encourages your brain to associate it with positive emotions.
You should also make sure to use any resources available to you. Oftentimes, professors will post study guides or syllabuses online for you to check out. Make sure you’re looking through what information they give you. You don’t want to get through tons of studying just to realize you didn’t need to go over something. That’s happened to me before. I had assumed my test was cumulative. The night before, I found out I only had to study what we’d learned in the past couple weeks. Although I didn’t have to do extra work, it was frustrating to realize this.
Other resources are also available. I use Quizlet a lot if I need to memorize something. Quizlet is a site that creates flashcards and quizzes for your exam. You can find study sets by someone who’s already taken your class. Otherwise, you can just create your own. I also use Youtube for any concepts I find difficult. There are a good number of qualified people posting explanations of complicated subjects. They have graphics that can help you visualize the topics.
I’ve found one of the greatest struggles of studying is over-stressing.
Last but not least, don’t stress too much. I’ve found one of the greatest struggles of studying is over-stressing. It’s terrifying to imagine possible consequences of failing a test or a quiz. In reality, it’s not usually as bad as you think. I thought I’d miserably failed my computer science class last year – instead, I ended up with a B+. Even more importantly, try not to obsess over grades. The point of school is to learn. Sometimes, it feels more like a competition (I’ve felt that countless times), and that’s why you should focus on learning. If you focus on understanding the material and doing things because you enjoy them, it’ll be easier to appreciate your classes and relax.
Whatever happens, happens. If you do poorly on one test, you can always make it up in the next one. One bad grade is not the end of the world. I’ve had plenty of bad grades throughout my school career, and I’m still at a great college getting a degree in something I love.
Just remember that you’ve got this – no matter what happens, things will end up alright.