By Sabrina Carroll
Elm Staff Writer
Midterms are right around the corner, leaving many students in a state of panic. Below are some study tips that can help you make the grade.
1. Take effective notes: Smart studying starts with consistent note taking in the classroom. Be sure to maintain a balance of listening to the professor and jotting down thorough notes. HowToStudy.com recommends “exercising good judgment” with what to write down so that you don’t write down too much or too little.
Study those notes even when a test is not coming up until later. “In order to grow as a learner and retain information, you need to be consistent with your studying each week,” said Lindsay Sears, assistant director of the Office of Academic Skills.
2. Study in chunks: According to Sears, trying to tackle an array of chapters all at once can jumble one’s memory. Looking at all the chapters for a test at once can even lead to overwhelming feelings of anxiety. “Studying in chunks is incredibly important in college,” she said.
Instead, review the subject one section at a time. Keep notes for one specific chapter out, and put notes for other chapters away until that one chapter has been mastered. Breaking everything down can help the mind absorb more information from each piece reviewed.
3. Make flash cards: Having a ton of terminology to memorize before a big exam can be cumbersome. Looking at each term piece-by-piece and examining how it fits into an overall concept may help.
Making flash cards by writing the definitions out can help one absorb the material faster. They also serve as a mobile study tool ideal for between classes. “The Huffington Post” said these “oldies but goodies…are great for developing and using mnemonic devices and associative phrases.”
4. Take mock quizzes: See if the information on the flash cards has been retained by making up practice questions. After the practice test is made, walk away from it for an hour or so to ensure the most accurate results and to see how well the material has been remembered. According to the New York Times, “Consistent testing can help us relearn and recall information, and it pays off when preparing for final exams.”
5. Turn off your phone: It may seem harmless to text friends or check Instagram in between a study session, but this can easily end up becoming a distraction. A lot of times, checking Facebook for a minute can turn into 15 or 20 or 60 minutes. Procrastination can be a “tactic during times of difficulty to start something challenging or not-so-fun tasks,” Sears said.
To avoid letting procrastination take over study time, Sears recommends recognizing the distraction and then setting up a reward system. “Once you have that awareness, you can set goals for yourself. For example, for every hour of study, you may check your phone for texts and Facebook for 20 minutes.”
6. Plan ahead: There’s only so much time in a day and with an exam covering weeks of material, it’s necessary to plan ahead. Avoid late-night cramming sessions by mapping out when and what to study.
“Planning ahead for studying can help dramatically as to what areas you need to focus on more, becoming aware of busy times in your schedule, and most importantly, setting realistic goals for yourself to get assignments done and study for exams,” Sears said.
It may be easy to let outside activities and other homework assignments take control, so keep a planner to mark down when studying will take place.
7. Ask for help: In addition to the Office of Academic Skills, services like the Quantitative Skills Center and the Peer Tutor program can offer invaluable help when studying for an exam. Aside from campus programs, students can also reach out to others in the class and organize a study group.
Although studying for exams may be a pain, there are many ways to combat it.