Your typical list of study tips always includes “Start early!” or “Plan ahead!” Ideally this is what we would all do, studying in increments so that by the time the exam rolls around we would have completely absorbed all the information. However, for me at least, tomorrow always seems like a better day to start and eventually tomorrow becomes the next day and the next until all of a sudden, it’s the night of the exam and you haven’t even begun to chip away at the mountain of material you need to cover.
So here is your unorthodox, procrastinator-approved, offbeat list of study tips for the late night cram session we all know and (very much do not) love. (*Disclaimer: also helpful if you are among the brighter ones who hit the books in advance)
First and foremost, crack open that book you’ve been avoiding and start to make an outline. Thankfully books are organized fabulously for this purpose; they are already divided up by chapters, then lessons, then important points. Your chapters are obviously going to be your main points and the lessons your next sublevel, etc.
Decide what the most important stuff is for you to learn, and learn that first.
If it’s a class that uses formulas, make a formula sheet. It’s super easy to get the formula to find A confused with the formula to find B. By putting them next to each other versus, potentially different pages of your outline, you can recognize their differences and more easily identify between the two. This is also useful for a quick refresher right before you go into your test to make sure you have it all down.
Read, write, highlight! The process of reading the information, writing down what is most important and then going back with the highlighter and being even more selective with the importance of information helps your brain process the large amount of material you are forcing it to learn and will help you in remembering what is crucial.
Take breaks… or don’t. This one’s tricky, because for me a five-minute snack break turns into a 2-hour social media session, but on the flip side, it’s good to give your brain a break. For this one it’s important to know yourself and how it will end up for you- tread carefully.
Though, a break between subjects is crucial. You need to let your brain digest all the information overloaded it with after the first subject before moving onto the next. Otherwise, it’s going to be a mess.
Now that we’re on the subject of breaks, we have a lovely opportunity to take a break from talking about studying to discuss food. Here is a list of excellent brain foods to snack on that will keep you fueled up and ready to master all of your classes:
Really any nuts, seeds, or nut/seed butters
Oatmeal (and other whole grains)
Freshly brewed tea
Salmon (okay maybe not a snack, but great for a pre-study meal)
By this point in our educational careers, most of us have our tried-and-true methods of studying, but if you’ve recently found that yours is not working as well as it could, I hope that these quick, few tips are helpful as we head into finals.