Whether it’s for an exam in the middle of the quarter, or if it’s for final exams, there’s always little things you can do to improve your studying that make a big difference.
One of the easy fixes is to STAY ORGANIZED. Sometimes it’s not the difficulty of the material, but the amount of stuff you need to remember that makes an exam hard (especially if the final exam is cumulative). And staying organized is one way that you can make all the information more manageable.
Think about eating a piece of cake. You don’t stuff the whole piece into your mouth (at least most of us don’t)! What do you do instead? You cut it into pieces! By cutting the cake into pieces, it’s must easier to swallow and digest. Well, the same goes for your studying. If you try to cram all the material into your head in one big piece (usually the day before the exam), then it will be difficult to “digest.” Instead, separate your notes into sections (or “pieces”). Study the material in chunks. That way all the information is much easier to manage. In fact, you can create a study schedule for yourself where you “eat” information a little bit each day.
Here are some other tips to help you study for your upcoming exams:
- Pay attention in class! Put the cell phone away and get the most out of your money! You wouldn’t pay $10 for a movie and spend the whole time looking at your phone, would you? Well…one day of a 5 credit class on the quarter system roughly costs $18. So every class you miss or don’t pay attention to, you’re throwing away almost 20 bucks.
- If you’re paying attention, then you should also take good notes! Listen to what the instructor is saying and write down as much as you understand.
- Speaking of understanding…it’s better to understand than it is to memorize. While studying, make sure you are really understanding the material, and not just memorizing definitions. If you can phrase things that make sense to you, then it’s much easier to remember during test time.
- Use memory tricks like mnemonics. Mnemonics are memory cues that help you retrieve information. For example, if you ever learned the colors of the rainbow as “ROY G. BIV,” then you learned via mnemonics! (ROY G. BIV = Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). If when studying you have a list of things to remember, make up some kind of mnemonic. Or there’s something called the peg word system that uses a rhyme to help you remember things.
Stay organized when studying, and you’ll see that taking tests is a PIECE OF CAKE!