Step 1: Find yourself a solid studying spot. Atmosphere can be key to a successful study session. For example, if you are trying to study outside in the middle of a bunch of Oklahoma thunderstorms and earthquakes, chances are high that you will not remember much of your notes (if they haven’t already been swept up in the latest tornado). Summary: Unless you’re a robot, avoid inclement weather. I’d also suggest choosing somewhere at least 10 feet away from the nearest bed-like object. Other “no-go” places: anywhere near garrulous (talkative) friends, electronic devices with access to the internet, and the cafeteria when you’re hungry. (<–I’ve found that when it comes down to it, I’ll often choose food over the books, much to my grades’ dismay.) Instead, try somewhere clean, calm, perhaps near a sparkling brook, and be sure you’re sitting in a comfortable spot, as you might be awfully uncomfortable by the time it’s all said and done.
Step 2: Give yourself plenty of time. One of the biggest mistakes most students make is not allowing themselves the proper amount of time needed to learn all the material. And by “most students,” I mean myself. A common misconception (made by me) is that I will have plenty of time later on to study for said test, and that I can wait to start the studying. DON’T WAIT TO START. It’s never too early. Okay, it can definitely be too early, but chances are it won’t be for you. So plan ahead and you’ll be set for life!
Step 3: Study what’s actually going to be on the test. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I guess that some people must literally have no brain as I have heard numerous stories like “ohhh…dude I spent like 3 hours studying the wrong chapter, so then like after I realized that I just basically gave up on the whole thing and failed the test.” And then I’m like “bummer, dude.” Don’t be that person. Go to class. Know what’s going to be on the test. And if you’re reading something that you don’t recognize whatsoever (and you’re sure you were at least mostly conscious during classes), that’s probably a good indication that something else is amiss.
Step 4: Bring snacks! Fairly self explanatory. Food gives you that extra energy you need to stay awake and focused during those late night hours. It also tastes good.
Step 5: Give yourself breaks. Some do this more often than others, but it’s important not to get too consumed with your studies that your brain turns to mush. So instead, allow a little time in between sessions to stand up, take a walk, organize your closet, do a handstand, clean your kitchen, floss…whatever suits your fancy. I prefer to maintain a ratio of one 4 minute break for every 2.5 minutes of studying. Some may find that a bit too strenuous on the mind, however, so feel free to take my ratio simply as an example and adjust the minutes accordingly.
Step 6: And finally, get some sleep afterwards! Everyone loves sleep, so why not let it be a two-sided relationship and have sleep love you back? Sleep is proven to improve memory retention, our immune system, metabolism rates, and (unofficially) our grumpiness levels. So who wouldn’t want to be a memorable, healthy, trim, and ultra-happy individual ready to take on even the toughest of tests? Nobody, that’s who. So get some sleep!
Best of luck, all ye future test takers. May your studying be simply serene!