Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Study Tips: Before a Test

As a college student, I think most of us are always looking for better ways to study. Sometimes its really hard and you don't even know where to begin. Well today I have for you seven tips that should improve the way you study. And in case you're thinking "what does this freshman in college know about studying?" I have to admit these aren't really all my study tips. Most of them came from a professor at my university. Not only has he done research on this he was also a student himself and said these were helpful. And from the semester that I tried them out I have to agree! So here are some tips to get you studying smarter.

So this will definitely be the hardest to do, but also probably the most effective. When you take a "study break" to check your phone or Twitter or whatever you are taking your mind off the information you were just studying. So that when you go back to studying your brain has to restart and relearn all the information you were just studying. It's like all that you just studied didn't really happen. So my advice is to turn off your phone and tuck it away if you have trouble with your phone distracting you. If it is your computer then I suggest you get an app like Self Control to block certain websites while you study. Then you're not even tempted to check social media or whatever distracts you.

Yeah I know, this one sucks too but it makes a big difference. Your brain holds onto the information better when you sit down for hours at a time to study. It sort of goes back to the first tip. If you study in little amounts of time your brain doesn't grip onto the information very well. So plan out an hour or two at a time to study.

Don't start the night before a test, you're not really going to remember anything. Instead study for three straight nights leading up to the test. That way the information has time to stick and you've really drilled it into your head.

Our brains hold onto to information better when we use more of our senses to learn it. So don't just read, but also say things aloud and rewrite things. Find different ways to learn information then just reading.

This is a disaster waiting to happen. We associate beds with sleeping, not studying. So reading or studying in bed is distracting and will make you sleepier.

All this will do is tire you out when it comes time to take the test. Also you don't hold onto information very well while you're tired. Make sure you are well rested and ready to take the test the next day instead of sleepy and confused

Even if it isn't. Make sure you know the difference between concepts. Don't just memorize the definitions. Be able to explain why two things are different from one another. If you are able to write an essay about something and explain it then you know the information.

Hope this was helpful and you ace all of your exams!

xoxo Lauren


  1. Thank you for these tips, i will definitely be using them!

  2. Interesting tips, however, I disagree with one of them. Studying for long periods of time can actually be counter-productive. Your brain essentially tires-out, so the material you study near the end of your long session isn't held as well, and because you likely covered quite a lot of information, you begin forgetting or confusing the first bit of what you studies. I don't have any research to cite, but I've read numerous times that studying for an hour and taking a 5-10 minute break is typically the best and most productive way to study. For some people, even, this might be too long. You have to see how your brain best functions for you. Of course, if you can only keep on track for 5 minutes or 15 minutes, you need to slowly train yourself to stay on task for longer. There's a technique for this -- the Pomodoro technique (

    (Also, I've tried the "study-for-10-hours" plan when I was studying for the MCAT and the PCAT -- it's not good. I was physically and mentally exhausted, and I had to go over the information again and again because it just wasn't sticking, even though I had been taught the information before).

    The most important thing is to do what is best for you. If you get distracted easily, remove those distractions. If you start losing focus, take a brief break, then get back to it. I can tell you, learning to study the best way for yourself is key to doing well in college. Also, it's difficult, especially if you could easily pass exams in high school without much effort. That was the biggest challenge for me when I got to college. I have my bachelor's degree (biology, minor in chem) and I am currently working on my doctorate (pharmacy); I am still trying to find the best method. Adapting to different types of information and playing around with varying study techniques has worked the best for me. Also, as long as you can stay on task, group study sessions are quite helpful. You have to be prepared, though. Study your notes before the group session, write down concepts you don't understand, ask your group, clarify information for others (if you understand it), and be prepared to tell someone that you can't study with them -- if they talk to much about anything besides what you are trying to study, are unprepared, or do not contribute to the study session, you won't be productive as a group. Obviously, tell them nicely, but, if they are as serious about their studies as you are, they will understand. Also, some people just work differently, and that's okay.

    Anyway, I hope this helps shine some light on study timing and is helpful!

  3. Hey Lauren...thankyou sooooo much for the tips. I ll use dem...Really gathered much of info as I wasnt aware of these tips. Thankyou once again :)

  4. These are SO helpful! I'm a junior in hs and am homeschooled, so a lot of times its really hard for me to get my motivation up and discipline myself into studying hard. I can definitely tell your tips will come in handy! Thank you! :)

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