Frequently Asked Questions About Studying For Exams

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?

You don’t.

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?