Common sense studying tips for final exams

With exams just around the corner, students are in a mad scramble to organize, study and organize some more! This being my first year taking exams, I asked my mother, a teacher, and my older siblings for studying tips and tactics that will hopefully help me do well.

Starting early is a big thing that most students forget. We procrastinate until the weekend before and end up cramming. To be well prepared and confident in an exam you must have studied a lot, and far enough in advance to have the curriculum well ingrained in your memory.

If you haven’t already, I suggest starting by carefully going through all your notes and worksheets in your binder and deciding which to keep and which to toss. There is no point studying for something that will not be on the exam. That being said, double check with your teacher if you are unsure of a lesson’s or note’s importance!

Secondly, rewrite everything. Every note you’ve taken, every worksheet you’ve accumulated over the year, rewrite them! Rewriting reinforces the knowledge in your brain that reading alone cannot do.

If you are second-guessing yourself or really do not understand a lesson or the material, make sure you go to your teacher this week. If your teacher or professor is unavailable, find a tutor or someone at home that can help. It would be a bad experience to walk into an exam not knowing an entire unit or not understanding certain key elements to the curriculum.

Other ways to keep your brain focused and your body ready for exams are to eat healthily and get the proper amounts of sleep. Set out designated hours of the day to study, and stick to them. Studying and preparing at midnight is not reasonable and will just make your brain tired and unfocused for the day ahead. Eat at least three square meals a day, with snacks in between to keep your energy level high and be ready to work. It is also very hard to cram mountains of information into your head at once, so study for 45 minutes to an hour, and then take a 15-30 minute break. Go for a short walk, stretch, get a snack or take a nap, but make sure you set a time frame in which you’re going to rest, and one in which you are going to study.

Surroundings are also a huge part of what can make or break a study session. If you feel you focus best in your bedroom or living room then study there. I am most comfortable at my dining room table because it provides good lighting, a large space on which I can spread all my books and materials out, and there is no television or music distracting me. Studying at a desk or table works better than lying down on a floor or a bed because it keeps your head up, posture correct and mind alert. Also, study in something you are comfortable wearing. Sweatpants and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable, as are pajamas and slippers.

Lastly, although studying with friends may seem like a productive way to work, it often isn’t. Make your own notes and develop your own study methods instead of relying on someone else to do them for you. Comparing notes with a friend who has a different teacher, but is still in the same course might be a positive plan of action, but to sit down and study with a classmate usually proves unhelpful.

Good luck to everyone taking exams in the next few weeks, and hopefully these tips helped you!

Avery Johnstone is a student writer attending Malvern C.I.

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