Words and graphics by Salie Agustin
While it is not really our fault that we have to study page after page of readings and formulas, it is always our responsibility to properly assess how we’re going to respond to these situations. Final and long exams don’t necessarily have to be terrifying! It all comes down to whether or not you’re studying right. Factors such as your methods, techniques, and study environments play a huge role in your productivity. You should always remember that studying harder is different from studying smarter. Developing your own strategies and discovering your preferences will contribute to how well you retain and understand information.
Keep these study tips in mind the next time your professor announces the next long exam.
The Pomodoro Technique
This is a simple time management technique for focusing on a single activity or task. It involves using an ordinary kitchen timer (or any sort), setting it to 25 minutes, and vowing (with all your might) to focus on the task until the Pomodoro timer rings. Repeat this while taking 5-minute breaks in between. This technique is as simple as it gets and helps you cut out interruptions and other distractions.
This method is especially helpful when you need to memorize a lot of information. You can manually make your own (and get creative at it!) or use apps such as Quizlet. Be careful not to over-use this technique, and remember that some topics may call for other, more effective study methods.
While all-nighters, fast food takeouts, and generous amounts of coffee may seem inevitable especially during hell week, it is always important to keep track of your health above anything else. I’ve been taking yoga classes for the past semester as a Physical Education course and I can say, from a first-hand perspective, that it really helps calm me down and keep my college anxiety levels at a low.
Reminder: Taking breaks is okay. Study at your own pace and stretch when you need to.
Create an environment for studying
Your study environment stands as one of the most important factors that affect your productivity. If you think you remain unproductive at a certain area, find another spot that better fits your study preferences. Keep irrelevant items away and always keep a water bottle at reach. Designate a single area only for studying, and keep all academically-related activities done within it.
On pulling all-nighters
While the all-nighter culture should not at all be encouraged, desperate times motivated by countless deadlines and a 2,500 minimum word count may call for one. Remember to always keep all-nighters as a last resort, especially when defenses and other kinds of presentations are involved. Otherwise, you’ll end up rendering all your hard work useless when you show up without a decent amount of sleep beforehand. If it does come to this point, prepare yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, by keeping yourself energized and awake. As much as possible, avoid relying too much on caffeine and sugary foods that won’t keep you awake for long, and try eating foods rich in protein. Drinking plenty of water will also help keep you awake. Set a constant study pace and commit to it, but remember to never restrain yourself from taking breaks.
Have your own tips to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!