8 Dos and Don’ts to Help You Ace College Exams
In preparing for and taking college exams, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for how to pass. Instead, we’ve gathered up a few dos and don’ts that will help you get through the dreaded final exams.
While it seems like a good idea to wake up a couple of hours early to study the day of the test, cramming is actually quite counterproductive. Don’t lose out on valuable sleep by staying up all night or waking up too early in the morning. Sleep is necessary for helping the brain retain information, so you’re more likely to forget everything you crammed if you aren’t sleeping enough.
Do Study All Semester Long
There’s simply no way that you can learn all the material the night before the test. Instead, you should be studying the material regularly throughout the semester. Make sure you understand concepts as your professor teaches them. Pace your learning so you can get enough sleep every night; sleep helps us form memories, and it’s the best way to remember information. After all, you can put the information in your brain, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t get it out again.
Don’t Get Distracted
With studying, it needs to be the only activity you are focused on at the moment, so limit distractions. This means turning off Netflix playing in the background and getting rid of distracting music. You may even need to turn your phone off or put it in another room.
Do Get Ready to Focus
When you sit down to study, your space should be clean and organized. Make sure you have everything you’ll need before you begin—water, coffee, and a healthy snack can help to keep you in your study spot for the time that you designate. Set a timer if needed and put a note on your door, so you aren’t disturbed by roommates. If you absolutely need music playing, choose instrumental jazz or classical music to limit distractions by familiar lyrics or rhythms.
Don’t Go It Alone
Studying alone can work for a lot of people, but using this method all the time can put you in a rut. If you isolate yourself for too long, you might find it hard to focus. You might also discover that you have a few questions about the material that you risk forgetting by the time the next lecture comes around.
Do Get a Study Group
Get with some of your classmates and work together by assigning concepts to learn and reteach to the group. You can also designate members of the group to bring supplemental study materials. If nothing else, study groups help with motivation and personal encouragement.
Don’t Focus Only on the Test
If you’ve got a test coming up, it’s easy to think you need to focus solely on that test. However, that line of thinking will only put pressure on you. Studying for hours at a time for days on end will stress you out and make you neglect other demands in your life.
Do Take Breaks
Sitting for hours to study is boring and counterproductive. Your brain will get overloaded with information. Instead, take frequent breaks during your study session. Stand up and stretch or go check the mail. For longer-term studying, make sure you’re taking breaks from academics to eat regular meals and get daily exercise and sleep. Your physical health is extremely important and will affect your ability to learn and recall information.
When college exams come around, the stress is on to succeed. However, don’t let the pressure of good grades force you into making poor study decisions. By following these simple dos and don’ts of preparing for college exams, you will ace each test you face.