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Studying for Exams

​Exams can be a stressful.  It's a challenge to remember a semester's worth of material, practice equations, and memorize vocabulary in order to get the grade you want.  Add in a lack of sleep, motivation, or energy and the situation can truly be overwhelming. 

How can you combat Exam Blues?  How can you channel all that ​seemingly overwhelming knowledge into a grade you are happy with?  Here are some basic study tips to help you do the best you can on tests.

1.    Get a good night's rest:  It can seem backwards to go to sleep early when there's so much to do.  But the truth is your brain can't function properly when it is too tired and overworked.  Pulling an all-nighter may seem like a good idea at the time, but in the long run you'll feel sluggish, disoriented, and anxious.  Getting some much needed sleep will help you stay focused and able recall information more effectively.

2.    Stay organized:  Staying organized can help you remember and retain information.

  • Take adequate and detailed notes.
  • Keep your notes sorted and organized. 
  • Color-coding can help you connect topics together so you can easily find the information.  
  • Use index cards, sticky notes, flash cards, or tabs. 

3.    Rewrite your notes:  It sounds daunting, but actually taking the time to rewrite your notes can help you remember all the things you've learned.  

  • Go over all the things you learned and write them in a way that is easier for your mind to recall during your exam. 
  • Rewriting your notes keeps you more engaged in the process than by just reading the information.
  • Read your notes aloud as you rewrite them.  For auditory learners, hearing the information while writing will help absorb and retain the information.  
  • Writing the information out on a different surface such as a whiteboard, chalkboard, or typing it can also boost your memory. 

4.    Study with friends:  Studying with friends is a great way to process ideas and help each other to remember things you might have forgotten.  

  • People who are able to teach a topic to others are often better able to learn and remember information, than by just reading textbooks or listening to lectures.  
  • Quizzing each other and comparing notes helps to keep the information at the front of your mind. 
  • If you choose this option, make sure that you stay focused so it doesn't become a social hour!

5.    Take breaks and eat snacks: Keeping yourself healthy and nourished, mentally and physically, is one of the most important things to do when you are getting ready for a high-anxiety situation.  You will function better and focus more when you are taking care of yourself.   

  • Healthy snacks that are high in protein are great brain food and will help your mind to stay focused. 
  • Drink lots of water.  A lack of water can cause mental fatigue, loss of memory, and headaches.
  • If you are feeling tired, take a walk and stretch your muscles.  

6.    Start early:  Don't wait until the night before to start studying!  If you know that you have a big exam coming and are nervous, start going over notes now. By starting early and getting organized, you will hopefully be able to lower your stress.

The words "finals and exams" can create a lot of anxiety; but it doesn't have to be this way.  By following these tips you can be better prepared to tackle the tough road ahead and come out on top.  Put your physical and emotional health first so you can be in a positive place to manage the stress.  We are rooting for you!



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