9 Study Tips for an Upcoming Exam

For students, it is very common to feel fear and anxiety during finals week or before an exam. This anxiety is felt primarily because we fear we aren’t prepared to take the exam. In most cases, a student may try to cram hours before the test; motivated only by the approaching deadline. To avoid cramming (that might induce stress and anxiety), it’s better to study as early as possible. However, studying may seem difficult or overwhelming for some students. Developing good study skills is critical for your academic career. Below are effective tips on how to study productively, especially when prepping for finals week.

1. Create the perfect study environment

An organized surrounding relaxes the mind and encourages productivity. Before attempting to study, it is important to arrange your environment first, especially your study area. A messy environment will immediately cause distraction and hinder your focus. Make sure you have sufficient space for your papers and study materials. Organize your things in an orderly manner so that searching for study materials will be less difficult.

2. Light it up

When studying, it is important not just to have an organized setting but also a bright environment. In fact, according to studies, your environment plays a vital role in your productivity. Students tend to study at night. A dim room could make you feel tired and sleepy almost instantly. Having bright and luminous surroundings can dramatically improve your productivity level and your level of focus.

3. Eat first and drink a lot of water

If you want to study and learn effectively, avoid studying on an empty stomach. Instead, prep yourself with nutritious foods that can boost your energy level and focus. Eating healthy foods prior to studying can actually keep your brain and body well fueled and has been proven to increase memory and concentration. Foods known to improve memory includes green vegetables, blueberries, coffee, chocolate, avocados, and tea.

4. Speak your mind

Reading aloud can help you memorize information. Doing this can also sharpen your focus. When you’re reading loudly, you will find yourself focusing on the task without being tempted and distracted by external factors.

5. Review an old exam

For some classes, one of the most effective ways to nail the exam is to review and practice old exam questions. If exams are comprehensive and build on information covered over the entire semester, reviewing a previous test or paper will help refresh your memory.

6. Take a break

For every 30 minutes of scanning your books, don’t forget to take a break and relax. A study shows that excessive studying could eventually result in stress, less effective absorption, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Keep in mind that your brain can only process a limited amount of information. Thus, it’s important to refresh our minds, relax and restore energy.

7. Write what you learn

Writing the information you are covering can play a huge role in what you remember. Keep a notebook and pen handy. Reading alone creates the possibility of forgetting a large portion of what you’ve covered. If you were to write important highlights or information you have trouble remembering, you may have a higher chance of being able to recall this information during your exam.

8.Stay away from temptation

This one can be difficult. Technology can be distracting! Gadgets such as smartphones and laptops are commonly used as study tools. However, these devices often serve as distractions. If at all possible, separate yourself from electronic devices that might distract your attention from studying.

9.  Bubblegum

This last tip is actually new to some yet effective. According to a psychological experiment, researchers found out that chewing gum while studying and chewing gum on the exam day (with the same gum flavor) can actually help retain and recall memory. How is that possible? In some related research, it indicates that chewing can induce arousal which helps you wake up. Chewing can actually increase blood pressure and heart rate. Thus, suggesting that chewing gum wakes your brain and encourages you to stay focused and concentrated.


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