You’ve got your notebook and laptop packed, you’ve lined up a slew of study snacks, and you’ve found the perfect corner in the library to hunker down and start studying. The next step? Make sure you’re not making any of these mistakes!
1. Studying for too long.
Here’s something you’ll be happy to hear — You really shouldn’t study for too long at one time! In fact, taking regular study breaks helps you digest and retain the information better. Keep your sessions to an hour or less and then get in a good break before you dive in again.
2. Only re-reading your notes.
Re-reading your notes seems like the most obvious study method. After all, you spent so much time writing them — isn’t that what they’re there for? Well, yes…But that’s not all you should do. Methods like quizzing yourself, creating outlines, and summarizing are actually more effective, so switch up the way you study next time!
3. Memorizing instead of understanding.
Another big “no” is simply memorizing answers. While this might help you swing a few questions, you can’t guarantee the entire exam will be that simple! Make sure you actually understand what you’re learning, rather than just being able to spit back words that have no meaning to you. The easy way to do this? Start asking yourself “why?” more during your study sessions.
It’s not hard seeing why so many of us opt for a cram session the night before an exam. Of course procrastination has a way of getting the best of us, but there’s also the belief that waiting until the last minute will keep the information fresh in your mind. News flash: This isn’t true, and it’s a recipe for stress! You’ll retain more information (and feel more relaxed!) if you break up the material into multiple study sessions leading up to exam day.
5. Pulling all-nighters.
Speaking of cramming, it’s even worse if your study session runs the entire night before your exam! Your brain actually needs sleep in order to learn and retain new information, so you’re actually doing yourself a disservice every time you pull an all-nighter.
6. Not seeking help.
A lot of us fear asking for help when we need clarity. Maybe you think it’ll make you seem stupid, maybe you fear it’s a giveaway that you totally zoned out during the lesson (Oops!), or maybe you’re just hoping you’ll eventually catch on by yourself. Whatever the reason is, put the ego aside for a minute! There’s a reason your professors have office hours and your campus offers tutoring services — Take advantage of them!
How do you make the most of your study sessions? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.