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Study Smarter, Not Harder/Longer

By Edited Mar 14, 2014 0 0
Have you ever felt like this?

Have you ever felt like this? This is basically what I look like the night before a big test. I felt horrible and I would have studied so much. I used to study a week in advance for my tests and I would study at least an hour and a half a day for one test and I STILL didn't get an A. It was extremely frustrating. But now after I've learned a few tips and tricks I don't ever study that much. Also with these tips and tricks, there won't even be a need for cramming. You'll still have to study to get the grade you want but if you follow these rules you'll study less and still get the grade you want. However, let's be clear you'll still have to focus. Slacking off and procrastinating will not help.

Tip 1: Create a Schedule and Stick to it!

Look at what you have to study

To create a schedule first you should check out what you actually have to study to ace the test. Look at everything that you have to know. A good way to know what you have to study is to count how many pages of notes you have to study. Then count how many assignments you have to study. If it's a literature class count how many books you have to understand and master. Basically quantify what you've learned so far and will be on the test.

Divide what you need to study

Since you have quantified the material, now divide it into the number of days you want to study so you know how much you should study in a day. Usually I would start 3-5 days ahead of the test. Starting 2 days before the test makes things much harder but I've seen it done by people who are SURE they know the material already. I've also seen people study 7-10 days in advance. It really just depends on how well you think you know the material. But remember it's always better to over study than understudy. But don't study too early, that wouldn't help either.

For example your schedule would say something like study 10 pages of history notes and then 1 assignment from 4PM-5PM Monday through Thursday. And then do a quick skim of all the material on Friday.

Tip 2: Take Breaks

You heard me right. Don't just study for an hour or study for four hours straight. You think that will get you to remember the material better but that's not true. Studies show that your brain remembers the first and last thing you've studied best so if you study for too long you will forget a lot of the things in the middle. The suggested time frame is to study for 20 minutes and then take a 5 minute break to stretch or walk around. On your break don't stay in your study area, go do something else. Don't go read a book or go on Facebook. If you do this you will learn more than if you just study for an hour.

Tip 3: Be in a good study environment

So what do I really mean when I say a good study environment? I mean there should be no distraction. You might think you can study better with the TV on or music on but trust me and try to study with out them once and if it doesn't help you can go back to the music and TV but I'm sure it helps to have them off. When you use multiple senses the senses don't get 100% of the focus that it could get. So 10% of the focus goes to your music while the other 90% of your focus goes to studying. While if you only study you get up to 100%.

Also have some fresh air in the room. If you are in a room open up a window, just a bit if it's cold. If you can study outside and see how you like it.

If you are studying in a study group make sure your group members aren't distracting you and are helping you. Basically just get away from distractions.

Also makes sure you have enough light where you are studying.

Try using the same spot to study everytime you want to study this will help your brain know when it's time to start studying.

Tip 4: Connect what you are learning together

Try to join everything you are learning to create a big picture. Or you can also use mnemonics to string together words. For example the colors in rainbow order (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) can be memorized as "ROY G. BIV", and the order of energy waves from weakest to strongest (Radio waves, Microwaves, Infrared, Visible Light, Ultraviolet, X-Rays, Gamma Rays) can me memorized as "Running Men In Violet Underwear X-cite Grandmas".

Tip 5: Figure out how you study best

There are many type of learners in the world. The 3 most basic ones are Kinetic, Visual, and Audio. Nearly all of us learn using all these ways but lean toward one a lot more than others. The best way to study is to incorporate these different learning styles together.

Kinetic is when you learn best by using your hands. For kinetic learners you should try rewriting your notes to learn them. Also try using clay or building blocks to make a model of what you are studying. For history you can have little erasers or dolls to act out the historic events. I know this sounds silly but it works!

Visual learners learn best when they see it with their own eyes. An idea is to draw out what you are learning. Make a chart or a list. Make a comic strip. Draw the cause and effects. Organize the information in a way that is easy to understand when you look at it. Add a little fun too, draw something funny in your comic strip, make the plot funny. Color coordinate your chart. Studying doesn't seem as bad when you make it fun.

For audio learners I recommend reading aloud what you have to learn or act out what you have to learn. Say everything you are studying out loud. Talk to yourself and try to rationalize it to yourself. Try to teach it to other people, or pretend to teach it to yourself again.

Tip 6: Have enough sleep and nutrition

This is self-explanatory. You should get a good 9 hours of sleep the night before the test. Some good things to do before your test is to drink some sparkling water because it will get some oxygen into your brain. Maybe try eating a banana for lunch of breakfast that day because potassium helps the brain work more efficiently. Eating a good breakfast helps too because it gives your brain and body the energy. If you like chewing up and it's allowed at your school chew gum while you take the test. It takes the stress off and can raise your test scores by 7%.

I hope this help you get the grade you want on your next test. If you liked this check out some of my other articles, you won't regret it.



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