The Best Study Tips To Ace All Your Exams

Do you recognize that feeling when finals week has finally come, you have a bunch of tests to study for, and don’t even know where to start? Have you just started your semester and want to take a new approach to studying in order to improve your performance in your tests? Are you pursuing an independent study in a subject you like and want to make the best out of it? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, this post is for you.

We can’t deny it: studying is a privilege. And we, who have the privilege of being able to study, spend a great part of our lives doing so. First, we go to preschool as little kids, then elementary school where we learn to read and write, middle school, high school (this is where things start getting tough), and college, where most of us only pursue a Bachelor’s, although some people still go for more advanced degrees like Master’s and Doctorate.

We spend a really big amount of time studying, so it’s important to use it wisely. You may have already heard that phrase: “study smart, not hard”. Well, that’s totally true. There are a lot of methods and techniques to improve our studying experience, and I’m going to share the ones that, in my opinion, are the best, with you.

Prepare For The Topic in Advance

For me, this is one of the best study tips ever. It’s simple, but very efficient. When I know that one of my teachers is going to start a new topic in a subject, I study the entire topic, or at least most of it, at home before going to class. It really makes a difference to come to class having what you’re going to study in mind. Then, the teacher or professor’s words will make a lot more sense in you head, and you will already know what your doubts are and what questions to ask.

Besides, you will avoid committing the most tremendous mistake a student can make: starting to actually study for the topic one day before test day. Terrible!

Set Up a Studying Routine

This is also really important. Studying at the same time every day will help your brain stay more focused during the sessions. Besides, it will reduce your stress and help you make the best out of the 24 hours you have in a day.

Some people are more productive at night, some in the morning, some in the afternoon, and some don’t really have a specific time when they are more prone to study. Thankfully, I can be productive at all times of the day, so I chose to study in the afternoon because it fits my schedule the best. This means that after lunch, my body knows I’m going to study, so my brain gets very sharp and excited to do so, boosting my performance.

Take Little Breaks Between Your Study Sessions

This method may not work for everyone, but you’ve probably already heard of the Pomodoro technique. It consists of short 25-minute study sessions with short 5-minute breaks. Then when you complete 4 rounds of this, you get a 15-minute break.

It didn’t work for me at first, but I’ve adapted this technique to fit me best: 45-minute study sessions with 15-minute breaks. The 25-minute study sessions didn’t work well for me because when I’d feel like I had really started making progress in the subject, I’d have to pause. And the 5-minute breaks didn’t really last long enough for me, and I couldn’t do much stuff during them. With 45-minute sessions, I can stay focused for longer, and the 15-minute breaks allow me to relax and do more stuff, like eat a snack or play with my cat. I usually do 2-3 rounds of these, depending on the amount of studying I have for the day.

Every person works in a specific way. Some people may need rewards to keep them going. I think this method is very cool as well. Like, you can watch a 20-minute episode of your favorite sitcom every time you finish studying a topic. Or maybe eat your favorite food, read 10 pages of your favorite book, talk with your friends, etc.

I don’t do rewards when finishing every task, but I do set rewards for when I finish all the studying I have to do for the day. I like to place a sticky note on my laptop with phrases like “Pasta for dinner!”, “Reading my book when I finish studying!”, or “Watching Dr. House tonight!” to keep me going.

Be Organized

Organization is essencial for every student. It can save you a lot of time and stress. I always write down what topics I have to study for each class I take. Then I organize them into a week schedule, so I won’t get lost and freak out.

Having a to-do list can help you so much as well. It will keep you from forgetting to do important assignments and projects, and it can also improve your motivation, since you will get a feeling of satisfaction every time you finish a task.

For keeping all of my studying information, I like using a website and app called Notion. It has a lot of templates with task lists and calendar views that help me keeping track of my studying progress. Very, very useful!

Discover Your Learning Affinity

Each person is unique, and each brain has a different coping strategy in the learning process. Some people learn best by listening, some by visualizing, some by talking, and some people learn best when writing. Knowing which way works best for you is fundamental because then you’ll be able to adapt your studying approach to best fit your brain. If you’re a listener, for example, you can try listening to a podcast about the topic, or if you’re a talker, you can try explaining the topic to your pet, sibling, or even the wall.

Still, there are people that have more than one learning affinity, and that’s totally normal. If you’re both a visualizer and a writer, for example, you can try watching a video while taking notes about it.

Make Your Study Sessions More Dynamic

Studying sessions where you just read textbooks all the time can get boring and leave you exhausted. For this reason it is important to dynamize your sessions. There are a lot of ways in which you can do it. Instead of just reading and writing and reading and writing, you can try different things like creating mind maps, doing online quizzes, creating flashcards for yourself, listening to a podcast, watching a movie about the topic, doing past exams, studying with your friends, etc.

In the next topic I’ll give you some recommendations of good websites/apps for you to create mind maps, flashcards, and do practice quizzes.

Use Websites or Apps to Help You

There are a lot of websites and apps with tools that can help us study. Below, I made a list of my favorite ones.

  • Notion: Like I’ve said before, I love using Notion because its to-do lists and database views help me organize my studying and make it easier to keep track of my progress.
  • Miro: I like Miro because I think it is very good for visual work, like creating mind maps and using white boards.
  • Quizlet: Quizlet is awesome because it allows you to create flash cards and quizzes for yourself. Besides, you can access an enormous amount of quizzes and flash cards created by other people too, including teachers.
  • Kahoot: Kahoot has a lot of fun quizzes that can help you learn a subject in a more laid-back way.
  • ChatGPT: We can’t trust ChatGPT with teaching every subject, so I like using it to help me divide a topic into various sub-topics, since it makes it easier to organize my studying.

Have a Proper Studying Place

This tip is super important as well. We can often study in inappropriate places, full of distractions and information that can keep us unfocused. Therefore, it’s very important to take a look at your studying place and ask yourself some questions. Are there things that are distracting me? Is there noise that’s giving me trouble focusing? Do I feel comfortable in it?

First of all, you should study in a place you feel comfortable in. Check if your chair supports your back well because otherwise, it’ll give you back pain after a couple of hours of studying. Also, see if the lighting is good so you won’t be straining your vision, which will tire your eyes. Remove any distractions, and if everything in your place is a distraction, switch to another one. If you, like me, can’t study with background noise, you can put on headphones with comfortable sounds, like brown noise, rain, or even classical music.

Never study on your bed!!! Our bodies recognize our beds as the place we sleep on every night. So, of course, if you start studying in it, your body will think it’s sleep time and will get all chilly. Definitely not a good idea!

I saw a video of a girl that said that she likes studying in public spaces, like libraries or cafeterias. She said she wanted to look super smart while studying, and since these places are usually full of people, it would keep her focused because she knew that if she started procrastinating and getting lazy and distracted, she would not look super smart to them. I found this a super creative and interesting technique, and although I haven’t tried it yet, I’m looking forward to doing so!

P.S.: Of course, smart people, can procrastinate, get lazy and distracted. Sometimes we’re just tired. It is just not good if it is an everyday thing, since it can significantly impact our performance.

Go To a Doctor For a Checkup

Ok, I know it sounds crazy and out-of-context. But let me explain it to you. Last year, I was concerned about my academic performance. I had suddenly started feeling all dizzy and extra tired. I was taking 3-hour naps every day, I was pale, I didn’t look good, I couldn’t focus, I was feeling overall very weak, and I was sleeping A LOT. I thought that it was just my academic workload that was getting me burned out. But then, after 3 months, I decided to go to a doctor. I found out that I had both iron and vitamin D deficiency.

Then I found out why I was feeling like that. The iron deficiency anemia was responsible for most of the symptoms, while the lack of vitamin D was responsible for the daily sleepiness.

A few weeks after I started supplementation, I already began noticing the results. I am feeling better, stronger, prettier, and more rested. Now, my night sleep is sufficient, and I’m not sleeping during the day anymore. I finally got my energy to study back.

I know that this may not apply to everyone. There are some days when we are just feeling very tired and lacking energy and motivation to study, and we think that our minds are the problem. But sometimes, it is just our body calling for help. Going to the doctor regularly for check-ups is super important and can help us in many ways. Take care of yourself.

Do Practice Exercises

Studying will be worth nothing if you don’t put it into practice. The majority of textbooks have their own exercises, but if yours doesn’t, you can find a lot of practice questions on the internet. When I first start studying a topic, I like doing open-ended questions. And, in the days before my exam, I like doing multiple-choice questions. This is because I can do a greater amount of questions in a shorter period of time, and it helps me revise everything I’ve learned.

Rewire Your Mindset

We, as humans, sometimes overcomplicate things. I like to think that every test is “aceable“. It is natural that people have affinity with certain areas and a hard time with others, but studying in the right way can definitely make things easier. Trust yourself!

You’ve reached the end of the post. Thanks for reading!

If you love nail art, read our post:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top