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How to Study Well as a Student

Updated on April 4, 2019
Angelo Samonte profile image

Studying for an exam is overwhelming, especially if you don't know how to navigate it. Here are some proven tips that can help you.

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Studying for the upcoming exams can be strenuous. If you asked your fellow classmates on how to study they'll have a different opinion and ways to share to you. This article will be the end of all that myths and hoaxes and summarize all of the articles found on the web, as well as share some of my tips that personally worked for me and helped me enter several universities here in the Philippines.

Taking Care of Your Body

I know, this sounds ridiculous, almost all articles in the web says the same thing, so how can I be differentiate this article from all these articles? Hear me out. According to a study published by Harvard, taking care of yourself is one way to finally be happy in your life, and as we all know our mood directly affects our mental health and our ability to retain information. Taking care of yourself is one of the ways that can indirectly help you study well.

That's a difficult way to attain, considering most students are malnourished and lacks sleep, so here are some ways that have worked for me that can potentially work for you.

1. Do intermittent fasting

I am not in by means a health professional nor am I a fitness trainer; however I have found that doing intermittent fasting helps your mental clarity. This means you'll be able to do stuff better, think more clearly, and put aside unnecessary information that you always think of.

2. Walk

As a student, it's difficult to maintain good grades and workout. There's too much on our plate already, we need to do extra-curricular to get those sweet brownie points, study for all our exams, and study ahead so that we won't get caught up. If you manage to fit working out, plus do household chores, and study well, I applaud you. Not everyone has the same time managing skills as you do. If you're like me, I suggest you squeeze in more time for walking as it helps you exercise and again helps with your mental clarity.

3. Do skincare routine religiously

This tip is usually not given focus of, because for whatever reason, so I'm including this one in. Many of us, have low self-esteem and that can stem from different reasons. Doing your skincare routine every single day, can give you that boost of confidence that can affect your mood and your emotions, and again, a happy mood will help you study more than a depressed one.

4. Sleep regulalry

This cannot be avoided. Sleeping is the fundamental of taking care of your body. It's difficult though because a student, you'd rather use that time to procrastinate or study. Personally, what I do is that by 8 PM I already turn on my light filter so it gives signals to my brain that I need to fall asleep fast. This helps too because the blue light from your skin helps you stay awake. This usually triggers something deep my head that'll help me fall asleep.

Did you know that blue light can ruin your skin?

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Prepping for the Exams

Now, that you're taking care of yourself, you need to find the suitable way for you to study, and here are some tips that have helped me study well in the long run.

1. Mock Exams

Prepping for the Ateneo College Entrance Test, I made myself take a mock test 2 months before the actual test took place. I usually did mock exams every 2 weeks. This is a proven way to help you for your exams, because you're getting yourself accustomed to the exams before it even happens.

2. Rewriting Notes

We've all heard of the ancient tip of writing down your notes, but surprisingly not everyone tells you to rewrite your notes. I usually rewrite my notes 4 times and this works well especially if you're a visual, physical, and solitary learner. I usually jot down my messy notes in a separate notebook, I write it again on my computer, then I rewrite again on my cellphone, then I eventually rewrite them to flash cards.

3. Listening to your voice

Another tip everyone tells you when you try to study well is to read your notes out loud, and surprisingly again not every article tells you to record your voice. If you're already reading out loud, I suggest you record your own voice and listen to your recording when you're in the shower, sleeping, or going to school. This is better suited for aural learners, but I, a physical learner can attest to the effectiveness of this.

4. Focus on several topics/subjects

I rarely study an hour straight for one topic. As you go along the way you'll see the motivation of studying straight will dwindle. What I do is that I study one subject for 45 minutes, take a break for 15 minutes, then focus on another subject. This tactic keeps your brain engaged, and let's be honest, the trouble with studying is not what you're studying but keeping yourself focused.

5. Stop reviewing the night before

If you're not a huge procrastinator and have done your studying 3 weeks before, before the exam, you should just take the rest of the day easy, study but don't overdo it. On the night before don't bother study and just sleep heavily. Your brain is stressed from the constant studying, and you should give it a rest and let it do its job.

Have you heard any of these before?

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How to effectively cram

Let's say you procrastinated and you're planning to retain one semester worth of studying in one night, how do you effectively remember everything for tomorrow's test? Here are some tips that helped me.

1. Study on your phone

Take a photo of your notes on your phone and study them there. If you're a teenager it's more likely that you own a phone, so this won't be an issue. Using your phone to study will make you more interested to the material and will keep you more awake if you're studying at night.

Make sure to put your phone on silent and turn off the WiFi and Mobile Data

2. Watch Youtube videos

Most of the stuff you're trying to learn are already on Youtube. If you're studying history, physics, algebra there's probably already a Crash Course video that'll help you remember the important stuff needed for tomorrow's exams

3. Don't drink coffee or anything sweet

Drinking caffeine or sugar will not help you study for the entire night. It'll just make you crash after indulging them and as you need to read and study a lot, coffee is not your friend.

4. Study with a friend

Most of the time I crammed the day after, my friends and I would question each other before the exams. Ffter tons of experience doing this I concluded it works, this helped me remember the notes I didn't study. This can only be done if you have a friend though, so if you're alone, make a friend along the way.

5. Write stuff on your hand

An experience in third grade made me realize that I also retained more information when the adrenaline of being caught cheating hit me. I don't suggest to actually cheat, that's wrong, however I can't deny that the fear and excitement of being caught didn't helped me remember the information I needed.

6. Study your past exams

If your professor is one of the hardworking professors that gives you back your exams before the final exams, you're very lucky. Use this chance and review these exams as the odds of those questions from your previous tests coming out are more firm.

On the actual day of the exam

How do you sufficiently and efficiently remember every information you studied for that can help you navigate the exam more easily?

1. Write

Writing is your savior. If you're taking up a Science/Math exam, chances are you are provided with a sheet of paper. Write down every single equation you can remember, and if you remember the examples, write them down too. This is extremely helpful especially if you're going to have exams in different subjects repeatedly.

2. Read the entire exam before answering

This will help you classify whether the exam is hard or easy, and give you a sense in what you're dealing with. I cannot remember how much I am always surprised by a question that popped out in the exams, so this is extremely crucial for people that are tend to be forgetful. Also start answering the questions you know along the way.

3. Skip

Don't loiter too long in one question. That's a waste of time. Come back to it when you're finished with everything that you are sure of.

4. Rule out your chances

If you're taking up a multiple choice exam, rule out choices that doesn't make sense. This will increase your odds of getting the right answer.

After the Exam

You've done it! You finally conquered the beast. The question is did you pass? If this is a finals exam, you'd get to know the answer very quickly, if this is a national exam, you'll have to antagonize waiting for it patiently. There's no use in being anxious, but that cannot be avoided, so after the exams, you should find ways that will help you calm your nerves and avoid being frantic what your exam scores will look like.

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© 2019 Angelo Samonte

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