How To Study For Exams | Studying Tips For High School and College!

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Developing the right study plan that fits your unique personality and learning style is the key to properly preparing for your tests and exams.  Today, Sarah  gives us some tips how to study for exams that can be used in college, as well as for high school students.Studying Tips

With finals just around the corner, assignments, papers, and tests are piling up quickly.  It’s crunch time for the college student and every minute is precious.  It’s time to put those newly acquired stress management skills and studying tips to use and use your time wisely.  Last week, I discussed ways to help yourself relax before studying or during study breaks.  This week, I will discuss how to study for exams, the optimal times, places, and ways to study with the least amount of effort and without going stir crazy.

How To Study For Exams

One of the biggest issues for me when it comes to crunch time is whom I should study with; myself or a group? There are benefits and drawbacks with both.  Studying by yourself allows for little distractions and much concentration.  However, always studying by yourself becomes monotonous and frustrating.  

After a few hours of sitting in front of my computer screen, I am very annoyed, and eventually I stop retaining information.  This is where groups come in handy.  They may be distracting at times, but sometimes those distractions are a good thing.  Solely concentrating on one subject for hours makes life unbearable.  Either friends help with understanding your work or they just help relax you.  It may take twice as long to finish your homework, but it can be worth it just to have a little fun while studying.

When figuring out how to study for exams, there are certain scenarios when it’s best to work by yourself and when you should work with a group.  The former is when you really don’t understand the subject and you need to mull it over by yourself in silence.  I find working one on one with Chemistry is better than working around a large crowd.  I understand the concepts better if I sit down and go through them on my own and is one of the better studying tips I would recommend.  

However, the latter scenario comes in handy after you have a foundational understanding for your subject of study.  Once I understand the basics, then I find myself working with a group to figure out the trickery portions.  For instance, I have a chemistry test this week, so I have been studying by myself to make sure I understand the concepts of equilibrium, thermodynamics, etc.  

Moving On To The Group Setting

When deciding how to study for exams, you have to consider the group setting and the advantages to that.  Once I feel comfortable with these theories then I work with a friend on the homework assignments.  That way if either of us has questions we can work it out together.  If I went to study with my friend and neither of us knew what we were doing, it’s easier to slack off and we don’t always finish the homework because we’re so frustrated with our own ignorance. When we both have an understanding, it helps us stay focused.

If you want to study with people, but you don’t have the same class with them, then things get really distracting.  When you’re all working on different things, you tend to do a whole lot of nothing.  So, if you want to hang out with your friends and do what I like to call a study party, make sure you’re either determined to study or that you have most of it done and you can spare a couple of hours with little progress.  Hanging with friends while studying isn’t all-bad though.  It does help you relax too.  You can talk through your annoyances and relieve pressure.

Choosing the Right Atmosphere

After I decide whether I want to work alone or with a group, then I decide where I should study.  What time of day it is and whom I’m with will determine where I will study.  If it’s the middle of the day and I’m by myself, I like to either study in my room or a quiet area on campus.  Studying in my room is nice because I can wear comfy clothes with no judgment and it’s usually very quiet.

However, after a while, my room turns into a distraction. If I stay there too long, my mind begins to wander and I realize how dirty things are, so I’ll clean, then I’ll just want to relax, so I’ll watch TV.  Before I know it, three hours have passed and I’ve done no homework. Because of this, I like to mix things up. Once I start feeling my mind wander, I know it’s time to switch locations; I go to the student center, library, sometimes a restaurant or coffee joint with Wi-Fi.  Switching up where I study every few hours keeps me focused; a new environment is invigorating. 

If it’s late at night and I’m still studying, I usually like to stay in my room so I can pass out whenever I want.  Some people don’t like this though. If they are in their rooms, they just want to go to bed early, so figure out what works best for you.  The same goes for times of day to study. If you’re a night owl and like to sleep in, then a good studying tip would be to get it done during the night and use those late hours to your advantage.

If on the other hand, you are an early bird, get a good night’s sleep and wake up early in the morning to get things done. If at all possible try to keep to your regular routine that way you won’t be as stressed. You will probably skip naps and cut down on friend time, but you can fit both in sporadically.

Organization is Key

Once you have decided where, when, and with whom you are going to study, make sure to organize what you are going to study. Manage your time so you spend enough time on each subject according to its difficulty. Chemistry is my hardest subject this semester, so for every three hours I spend on that I only spend an hour on my British Literature class. Everything ties back to time management and organization; make sure you know what you need to do, how long you need to do it, and how concentrated you need to be.

Hopefully these studying tips have helped you figure out how to study for exams the best way.  Good Luck to everyone on these last couple weeks of school! 

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