Techniques for studying for exams

Techniques for studying for exams

By Tereasa Neeley

Voices Editor

Taking an exam may be harder than you think, especially if you are not prepared. Mid-terms and final exams are one of the most challenging exams while in college.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

There are some students who have trouble finding the right studying technique. Therefore, they struggle, which causes a lot of anxiety. Students need to have a clear plan when they begin to study. Students need to go over the syllabus, this is a great place to find what the professor has discussed during each class period. Also, students need to create a good study routine, this will allow them to be more successful. Avoid multitasking, you will need to study one subject at a time. This will allow you to study one subject at a time more accurately.

There are some studying tips to help students prepare for exams.

One: Taking good notes – this allows you to review your notes when you are not in class. The goal is to make sure the notes are legible and understandable. When you are taking notes and something confuses you, ask the professor for clarification.

Two: Create flashcards – Flashcards will allow you to not only review your notes but also allows you to quiz yourself over the class materials. 

Three: Studying with a partner. This will allow you to review the notes and each other can help one another if they are confused on one section. This also boosts confidence because you feel more confident you accurately went over the study material.

Four: Staying organized will keep your study notes in order. This will make it easier for you to accurately go over the right notes for the exam.

Five: Taking breaks while studying will avoid burnout. You will feel more relaxed and have more energy to study.

Six: Students can also use the Pomodoro technique developed by Italian Student Francesco Cirillo in 1999. Cirillo struggled to focus on his studying, so he began to use a kitchen timer to allow himself to commit to at least ten minutes of studying.

This study method is a time management technique that involves using a timer to time short intense work sessions, traditionally 25 minutes long. The technique is to study for 20-35 minutes and take a short 10-minute break. Study for another 20-35 minutes and take a short ten-minute break. Study for another 20-35 minutes and take a longer break of at least 20-30 minutes long. After you completed four Pomodoro’s repeat the sessions. However, if you finish studying before the four Pomodoro’s ends you can use the allotted time to review your notes.

According to the College of New Coledonia, “the reason that the Pomodoro Technique works is because we learn best when we are fully engaged in a task, but this can be mentally exhausting. With this intensity breaks are important. During the longer breaks, our brains are assimilating the new information and resting for the next round. With practice, your Pomodoro’s will become more successful, and you will improve your attention span and concentration.”  Students have been managing their time with the Pomodoro technique for over twenty years, this shows how effective this technique is.

One way to find out what you need to study is to write down everything it is you know about the subject you are going over. The areas you are missing is what you need to concentrate on studying. You also need to avoid procrastinating on studying for the exam. Laura Scroggs, a freelance writer wrote “research has shown that procrastination has little to do with laziness or lack of self-control. Rather, we put things off to avoid negative feelings.”

This will in turn make you cram for the exam which will cause you not to be able to retain the information you are reviewing.  This also causes anxiety, and you are not retaining the information you are studying. Also, get plenty of rest the night before the exam.

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