As a college student, your exam performance will have a direct impact on your grades and, in turn, your GPA. In many classes, there are only a few graded assignments aside from exams that factor into your grade. Even the most intelligent and dedicated students can struggle with having a low GPA. For this reason, it is important to make sure you study as frequently, diligently, strategically, and efficiently as possible. There are a number of ways to do this, and while many people excel under different study conditions, there are some general methods that you can try out if your study habits are not allowing you to live up to your academic potential.
The first study method to practice is discipline. Pushing yourself the extra mile, not allowing yourself to fall into various distractions, and minimizing the time you waste on these distractions can be great ways to find a flow that you can work with. Don’t wait until it feels like the “right time” to study; start doing it at a time you planned out prior, and create a list of tasks and rules to commit yourself to. Create a study schedule and stick to it. The first mountain is the hardest to climb; once you’ve finally committed to starting your study process and made yourself start working, the rest comes much easier than you’d allow yourself to think. While it is important to stay focused on your study materials, it is equally important to remember to take study breaks periodically. It may help to set up time for short breaks and a reward system for when you have done satisfactory work. However, the discipline method needs to apply to the break periods too. Often, people tell themselves that they’re taking a “study break” to justify their own procrastination. Be sure to hold yourself accountable and only allot short time periods for relaxation.
The next study method to consider utilizing for your study sessions is organization. If you are unorganized, studying becomes a lot more difficult than it needs to be. You may find yourself jumping back and forth between topics or spending too much time looking for certain notes, articles or pages. This can be extremely frustrating, especially if you already have difficulty staying focused. A binder with tabs for each topic or section, a table of contents, and a comprehensive study guide can be a great place to start your organization. It also could help to purchase a planner to write in dates and times that are dedicated to your studies.
Discipline and organization are both important study methods to keep in mind when studying for exams. However, there are a ton of other strategies that people often use to help keep themselves disciplined and organized. One of the most common tactics people use is creating their own study guide. When you create your own study guide, ask yourself the questions that you’re least sure about; you’re more likely to remember the content if you draft both the questions and the answers. Make sure you don’t forget to include the information that seems like the most obvious and easiest to remember when you create the study guide; you never know if you could forget this information by exam day, and including it in your study guide makes your chances of remembering it much higher. Another important thing to do is to ask questions, first to yourself, and if you can’t find an answer, to your professor or TA. Quizzing yourself, teaching your classmates, or having your classmates quiz you can be another great way to master the information. You can do this by writing key terms on flashcards or making digital flashcards on a website like Quizlet.com.
Remember, you aren’t alone in your educational journey and it’s also important to use the resources provided to you including your professors and peers. Now, go ace those exams!