Whenever exam season rolls around, I ask myself the same questions about studying. So I figured I should answer some of them in a blog post.
How should I study?
Review actively. Use as many of your five senses as possible. Reading the textbook is more passive than writing notes. Having your friend quiz you is more active than listening to recorded lectures. You get the idea. The more you involve your senses, the better you’ll remember dense material.
When should I study?
Try to study during or around the hours your exam will take place. This primes your brain to think about psychology at 9 a.m. on a Monday or morphology at 5 p.m. on a Saturday.
Where should I study?
Learning different subjects in separate environments can improve retention or at the very least, reduce confusion. So study German in the kitchen and Latin in the office. Ideally, you’d review in the same room you’ll be writing your exam in. Context dependent memory is real.
How do I remember what I studied?
Try to condense your notes instead of rewriting them. Even if you aren’t allowed to use a cheat sheet, create one. After all, condensing fifty pages of information down to five forces you to select and understand key concepts. In terms of recall, writing something down is better than reading the same thing over and over again.
Happy studying. Then again, when is studying ever happiness inducing?
Thanks to my terrible time management, I had one day to study for my first exam. But I’ve learned from my past and set aside an entire week for my second one.
So even though I don’t believe in cramming, I consider myself an expert on it now.
- Don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world. Besides, you’d be surprised at how much you can cover in a day.
- Make a plan. What topics do you have to cover? When and where will you study? How long are your review sessions going to be? Because you don’t have all the time in the world, focus on important ideas as well as concepts you don’t understand that well.
- Perform to the best of your abilities. You don’t have to be perfect. But that’s okay. Do what you can. Don’t worry about what you can’t.
Good luck. Don’t fail.
I’m going to motivate myself to study for my last exam by writing a post about it.
I have nothing to lose. So here goes nothing…
To Future Herminia,
Stop what you’re doing right now, whatever it is.
Get off your phone.
Grab your notes and read them. Review them.
Sit down or stand up. It doesn’t matter. So long as you start studying.
Read the first word. Read the next word. Read one sentence. Read one paragraph. Read one page.
Take it one word at a time, one page at a time.
Break up the work into smaller tasks. Take a break between each task.
Make a connection. Make even more connections.
Reward yourself after you get something done, not beforehand.
You got this.
You can do it.
I’ve been flirting with the idea of creating a blog to help me study for my exams.
I don’t know if I will. I might though.
The idea appeals to me. Creating a blog beats reading a textbook any day. Although I should probably read and review through my notes.
I’m going to sleep soon and see how I feel tomorrow about all this.
You had to have seen this coming.
I mean have you met me?
If it wasn’t for NaNoWriMo, I don’t think I would have written anything that’s longer than ten thousand words.
Wannabe writer right here. Novelist, more like it.
Why did I ever think I could get novels published when I can’t even finish one?
Somehow though, come November, I’m writing more words in one day than I usually do all year.
Hilarious, aren’t I? Delirious too. It’s late. Give me a break. My small brain can’t handle studying, writing, and blogging. Something has to give, okay?
Why do I do this to myself?
But this April I haven’t let myself off the hook.
Despite classes and exams.
School needs to leave me alone.
Of course I finish exams on the second last day of this month, the last day of the official exam period. I refuse to fail at anything, even though university is clearly conspiring against me.
I can’t promise that my posts this summer will be worth reading.
But maybe my Camp NaNoWrimo stories will be!
After I spend the next four years of my life editing them. Or rewriting.
What have I been doing?
Where have I been?
I was at school, writing an exam I barely studied for.
Here’s what I learned:
- I can’t recommend cramming, ever.
- I don’t advise anyone to follow in my faint footsteps.
- I wouldn’t attempt it again in a perfect world, but since the world isn’t perfect, I probably will write many more exams with very minimal studying and preparation beforehand.
Why didn’t I study?
Because I had other things to do. You can’t expect a writer and blogger and reader to devote all her time being a student. If you do, you have unrealistic expectations.
How am I?
Not great. February flew by way too quickly. I spent the month watching my productivity levels skyrocket…to the ground. And beyond. To the core of earth. Nothing is where I want it to be. Nothing is going in the direction it should be. But that’s okay. It’s March. It’s a new month. Get ready. Get excited. You can be I will be writing Camp NaNoWriMo blog posts instead of studying for exams. Haven’t you met me?
She opens the textbook.
She sees a word.
She looks up the origin of said word.
She closes the textbook.
She repeats this process several times.