The art of studying for a final has been at the heart of the matter since the beginning of time. There is no fossil evidence that dinosaurs ever took the time to write out flashcards of the Periodic Table, but I personally don’t believe it’s something we can adequately disprove at this point.
Why is preparing for an exam so darn difficult? If you go to class, take notes, join a study group, do the homework, it should all come together by the exam. For some reason, it doesn’t really add up like that. There can be material on the exam that your teacher never went over in class. There might’ve been a day when you missed class and it happened to be the most important lecture of the entire semester. You might’ve attended every single class, but you still need to go back and memorize which specific dates match up to which specific events of the French Revolution.
Exams are hard. But here are 5 ways you can have an incredibly effective studying session before you take the test:
1. Blockade yourself from the Internet (if possible)
I’m not gonna lie. Internet is amazing. It gives you gossip, games, and Cappex. But when it comes to studying, Internet is the sworn enemy. You’ll be studying and think you’re all deserving of a break, so you log in to Facebook. Three hours later you know more about Janie Margolis’ sister’s best friend’s bachelorette party than the Communist Manifesto you’re supposed to be writing an essay on.
2. Tell your mom and BFF to hold off from texting
Just like the Internet, texting is a black hole that will suck you up, speed time up, and spit you out all confused and empty-headed one hour before the test. Let your friends know you are out of communication. And let your mom know especially, because when she won’t be able to contact you for 3 hours, she’ll order a missing person report on you.
3. Bring everything you need
Prepare for your studying session like my grandma prepares for going to the mall–have everything in your purse you could possibly need. And yes, that often involves a simple pulley system. While, you never know what roadblocks you will hit, you can at least make an educated guess: You’ll probably get hungry and tired. So bring some snacks and definitely a coffee or Red Bull. You’ll probably need to study something, so bring any and all class materials. You’ll probably need something to write with, so bring a pen and paper. You might want to make flashcards. So, bring flashcards. You know how this works.
4. Make goals
Going into a study session with checkpoints will help you make better progress. Before you jump right into the books, make an outline of what you need to accomplish, and at what points in time they need to happen. Having checkpoints will keep your pace up and keep you motivated as you mark off each one.
5. Give yourself time
This one is essential. Your brain needs time to marinate all the information you’re pushing into your head. Studying a couple hours before the exam will not work to your benefit. It’s always better to work a couple days before the test so that you can sleep on the information, let it soak in, and go over any unanswered questions the next day.
Do you have any study tips? Leave a comment below!