Ace Those Exams by Following These Tips

Sophomores Reilly Murtaugh and Erica Tashma begin studying early for their exams. Photo: Amy Butler

Sophomores Reilly Murtaugh and Erica Tashma study for their exams by listening to music and spending time in the library. Photo: Amy Butler

It’s that dreaded time of year again: exam week is almost here. Although exams are often overshadowed by the much-anticipated winter break, it is still crucial to study effectively for the five assessments. Here are some tips that will help relieve some stress and keep you on track during this difficult time.

  1. Start studying early. Don’t wait until the week before exams to start looking over your notes. Studying in blocks of time over a period of days or weeks can be very helpful and breaks up the large amount of material that must be mastered.
  2. Get organized. Make an exam binder with all of your notes, quizzes and homework and be sure to contact your teacher if you are missing any assignments. It’s not a good idea to begin winter break with missing assignments in the grade book.
  3. Put your phone away. Texts, GroupMe messages and social media notifications can be very distracting and break your concentration. Put your phone in another room. Then, as a reward, give yourself time every hour or so to go on your phone for a few minutes.
  4. Study productively, efficiently and use time wisely. Space the five different subjects out and make a checklist each day on what you hope to accomplish. At night, check off what you have completed and what topics you need to spend more time on.
  5. Take breaks. Studying for four hours straight is not helpful because it is very difficult to focus for long periods of time. So, after you accomplish or finish something, go outside or eat a snack and then go back to studying.
  6. Use your free periods wisely. Everyone hears this advice frequently, but it cannot be stressed enough. Go to the library instead of the Commons or the Inman Center and do your homework for the night so you can study more once you get home.
  7. Make a study playlist. Listening to music while studying can increase focus and be relaxing. Spotify, for example, has many playlists of calm and soothing music.
  8. Use study tools. Looking over your notes over and over again isn’t always helpful. Use Quizlet, note cards, charts or dry-erase boards to help organize and allow you to review the material in different ways.
  9. Get enough sleep. It is better to go to sleep earlier than study until 3 a.m. when you are extremely tired. But, if you must study more, go to sleep early and wake up early. Taking an exam when you are sleep-deprived will hurt your ability to recall information and think clearly.
  10. Eat well and hydrate. Don’t drink a ton of caffeine to keep you awake. Instead, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water.