Studying can definitely be a struggle. I mean, no one actually wants to study, right? Although studying can be tedious and tiresome, it’s almost always necessary.
But have no fear — I’ve got some tips to help you study like a queen!
GIVE YOURSELF INCENTIVES
There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself. When you’re done reading a chapter of your assigned reading, read the newest tweets on your Twitter timeline. When you finally remember all the definitions to your vocab words, watch your favorite show on Netflix. When you finish two full paragraphs in your essay, eat a candy bar.
Giving yourself incentives can definitely help you set personal restrictions during study time. You’ll eventually get into the mindset of studying first and everything else last!
SET VISUAL GOALS FOR YOURSELF
I saw this tip on Twitter a while ago, but it’s something that has definitely proven to be helpful.
To get yourself to read EVERYTHING in your book, spread out gummy bears (or your favorite candy) in between each paragraph. When you finish reading that paragraph, eat the gummy bear!
Although this is also an incentive similar to my first tip, this one is visual, so it might help a little more!
STUDY AT SCHOOL
In my class schedule, I have about two hours of free time between my two classes for the day. There’s no point in driving all the way home and all the way back within a two hour span, so basically, I’m stuck on campus. Bored and stuck on campus. The BEST time to study is when you’re bored and have literally nothing else to do. You’ll eventually resort to studying — simply because there’s nothing else left to do!
When you’re restricted from your TV, bed, and other distractions in your home, it’s a lot easier to study. If you’ve got free time on campus, studying is a perfect solution.
HIGHLIGHT, HIGHLIGHT, HIGHLIGHT
Everyone knows this, but seriously, highlighting helps so much. The hardest part about this is deciding what’s worth highlighting and what’s not. You don’t want to highlight your entire page of notes, because obviously, you wouldn’t take anything away from that.
And if you’re sick of the boring yellow highlighter, color code your notes with different highlighters! That always helps me.
READ ALOUD & QUIZ YOURSELF
Sometimes I retain information a lot better if I’m reading all my notes out loud. When I actually hear my notes out loud, the content actually stays glued in my brain. Or you can always have a friend read your notes to you because listening to a friend might be a little easier than listening to a teacher.
Flashcards are also a helpful tool. Find a friend or family member and have them quiz you. And even if you don’t have someone by your side who’s able to quiz you, quiz yourself!
This is probably my most used study habit, although it may not work for everyone.
Associate key terms with things that are easier to remember. For instance, if you’re having a hard time remembering which president came first, William Henry Harrison or John Tyler, you can think of the alphabet. H (for Harrison) comes before T (for Tyler), so William Henry Harrison was president before John Tyler. Obviously this specific way won’t work for all of your terms, but figure out what works and what doesn’t!
Another good way to use this tip is to find words similar to your key terms. Let’s say you can’t remember which president was a big advocate for national parks and preserving nature (Theodore Roosevelt!). What does “Roosevelt” kind of sound like? Rose. And what are roses? A part of nature! Which is what he was a big advocate for. This tip is especially helpful for multiple choice questions, because if you’ve got “rose” on your mind, you’ll be able to rule out all other choices that don’t sound like “rose.”
We all learned PEMDAS in middle school, right? Parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction. See! The acronym works so well that I still remember it. PEMDAS was definitely in the back of my mind during every math test.
If you’re trying to remember the order of something, try to create an acronym for each of the letters. Last year, we learned about stars in my astronomy class, so we were taught the mnemonic, “Oh, be a fine guy, kiss me” which represents types of stars in decreasing temperature. If it wasn’t for this acronym, I would have NEVER remembered the order of the star types.
Just as an example, let’s try to remember the order of presidents using a mnemonic. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, and Jackson. That’s WAJMMAJ, so you could try to remember something like, “Wow, a jealous monkey married a jaguar.”
IF YOU’RE MUSICAL…
Create a song! Or look up song. Both work! Studying doesn’t always have to be boring!
There are a ton of study songs and a lot of them are super catchy to the point of being annoying — which is a good thing, because they’ll stick in your brain!
All you need for this is the magical means of YouTube. There are songs about grammar, foreign languages, presidents, and so much more. There’s even a song about all the bones in the human body (c’mon, I can’t be the only one who remembers that Hannah Montana episode!).
I learned this technique in second grade and it’s definitely one that works.
While studying for a big test, chew gum (any type of gum!). Then when actually taking the test, chew that same type of gum. It helps trigger your memory and also helps with concentration. Trust me, there’s a ton of scientific data behind it!
But… if your school doesn’t allow chewing gum in class, you should probably avoid this tip.
BREAK THINGS UP
Instead of reading an entire chapter at once, and then going back to reread that same chapter, break it into pieces.
Read one paragraph, then read it a few more times until you completely understand and comprehend the information. Once you’ve got it down, move on to the next paragraph. This makes things a lot easier because instead of trying to remember a ton of things at once, you’re remembering a ton of things little by little!
Here’s another version: Instead of rushing yourself and reading all ten chapters of your assigned reading last minute, read two chapters each day until the assignment is due. Two chapters today, two chapters tomorrow, two chapters until you’re done!
If you rush yourself and attempt to read everything in one sitting, you probably won’t retain any of the information because you’re more focused on getting the reading done rather than understanding the content.
With these study tips in mind, my only hope is that you’re able to ace all your exams. You got it, girl!