Exams are an integral part of the school. Middle school, high school, and college exams can make or break a student’s academic future. It’s essential to be able to study well and get the best possible grades. Here are a few tips on how to study for an exam to achieve the best grades:
Make a Study Schedule
A study schedule is a great way to organize your time and ensure you cover all the material you need to know. Start by making a list of the topics you need to study. Then, break down each topic into smaller goals you can achieve within a specific timeframe.
For example, if you have five to seven topics and a week to study for an exam, schedule one hour every day to dig into each topic. Make sure to include breaks in your schedule so you don’t get overwhelmed.
If you’re having trouble making a schedule, try using a study planner. Plenty of free online planners can help you organize your time and make studying more manageable.
Once you have a study schedule, stick to it! It can be tempting to push off studying, but the more you procrastinate, the harder it will be to catch up.
Find a Study Method That Works for You
I know many people who swear by flashcards, but I never found them helpful.
Some people prefer to study in short bursts, while others like to study all night. There is no right or wrong way to do it. The most important thing is to find a method that works for you and stick with it.
Some methods you can try are:
- Reading your notes out loud
- Writing out your notes multiple times
- Quiz yourself with practice questions
- Create a mind map
It may take a few tries to find out what works, but once you get into a groove, stick with it!
Take Care of Your Body
I live by this rule: I can’t expect my body to care for me if I’m not taking care of it.
When you take care of your body, you’re giving yourself the energy and focus you need to study effectively. This means getting enough sleep, eating balanced meals, and exercising regularly. Many people tend to ignore the significance of their physical and mental health when preparing for an exam.
You might be thinking, “I don’t have time to exercise. I need to study!” But trust me, even a short workout can make a difference. Take a 20-minute walk or do a quick at-home exercise or yoga to help clear your head and get your blood flowing. You’ll be able to focus more on studying — trust me.
Eating healthy food also fuels your body and helps you concentrate. Make sure you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If you need a little pick-me-up, try drinking some green tea or coffee. Just be careful not to overdo it on the caffeine!
Drinking lots of water is also essential. Staying hydrated will help you focus and avoid headaches or drowsiness.
4. Take Notes During Class
Taking notes during class is a great way to stay engaged with the material. It also allows you to retain more information and ask questions if you’re confused about something.
If you’re having trouble taking notes, try using a notebook app on your phone or tablet. That way, you can type out your notes and have them wherever you go.
I recommend taking notes by hand. Studies have shown that students who take notes by hand retain more than those who type. Laptops and smartphones can also be distracting and make it hard to pay attention.
It might feel weird at first, but try taking notes by hand for a few class periods and see how it goes.
5. Study at the Same Place Every Time
Finding a place that works for you is crucial when trying to study. Some people like to study in libraries, while others prefer to study at home. Finding a place that suits you is an essential part of learning how to study for an exam. If you can, try to find a quiet place where you can focus. A study area with lots of distractions is not going to be helpful.
Once you find a place that works for you, try to study there every time. Studying in the same area will help your brain associate that location with learning.
If you’re having trouble finding a good study spot, ask around and see if anyone has any recommendations. Ideal places to study are usually quiet, have good lighting, and are comfortable. The library, a coffee shop, or even your bedroom can be a great place to study if it meets those criteria.
6. Practice with Friends
One of the best ways to prepare for an exam is to practice with friends. You can quiz each other on material, discuss complex concepts, and study together. Studying with friends is also a great way to stay motivated. When you’re studying by yourself, it’s easy to get distracted or lose focus.
However, you’re more likely to stay on track while studying with friends. Just make sure you choose your study partners wisely — some students will turn a study session into a hangout, which won’t help you study.
If you’re stuck on a particular problem or concept, your friends can help you figure it out. Next time you’re studying for an exam, consider enlisting the help of your friends. It could make a big difference in your performance.
7. Take Breaks Regularly
While this might seem counterintuitive, taking breaks can help you focus better when studying. When studying for long periods, it’s essential to give your brain a break now and then. Otherwise, you’ll start to feel overwhelmed and burnt out.
I’ve found that the ideal balance is to study for 45-50 minutes and take a break for 10-15. I like setting a timer and putting my phone away so I don’t keep looking at the clock. During your break, stretch, eat a meal or snack, and refill your water or coffee.
If you can, try to avoid studying for more than two hours at a time. Once you start feeling fatigued, it’s hard to focus and retain information. If you have to keep studying, keep taking consistent breaks every 45 minutes and two hours, and take a more extended break for about 30 minutes.
8. Participate In Class
Taking notes isn’t the only way to learn the material — participation is also vital. You’re more likely to pay attention and understand the material when you’re in class. Try to ask questions and contribute to discussions.
I know it can be intimidating to speak up in front of your classmates. Remember that school’s purpose is to learn, and not everyone there knows everything anyway. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions.
If you’re confused about something, other class members feel the same way. Asking questions will not only help you understand the material better but also help your classmates. In addition, your questions may prompt the instructor to provide additional clarity or examples.
9. Create a Study Guide
A study guide is a great way to organize your thoughts and focus your studying. To create a study guide, start by taking a look at your notes and class materials. Then, identify the main concepts and ideas on the exam.
After identifying the key topics, try to come up with examples, explanations, and definitions. Find ways to connect the material to your own life or experiences so you’ll remember them better.
10. Get Plenty of Sleep
Being well-rested is crucial when you’re studying for an exam. When you’re tired, it’s hard to focus and retain information — or even care about the exam.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. Even if you usually stay up late, make a point to go to bed early the night before an exam.
In addition to getting enough sleep, try to avoid studying before bed. Studies have shown that people who study before going to sleep tend to remember less than those who study at other times of the day.
If you can, try to study earlier in the day or evening. Then, when it’s time for bed, you can relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Getting ready for an exam can be stressful.
But if you follow the tips on studying for an exam in this blog post, you can study effectively and improve your chances of getting your desired grade.
Take a deep breath, make a study plan, and get to work. You got this!