It’s time to prep for finals, and you need a win to finish the semester strong. So to help you, we’ve put together some tips to make sure you get the most out of your studying and preparation before the big test day. And don’t just take out word for it… these tips are all based on science!
Tip #1: Don’t cram
When you cram information all at once, it’s like cramming a giant pile of stuff into your locker. When you need to locate a specific item (or piece of information), you’re going to have a hard time sifting through the junk jammed into the locker, and a bunch of stuff is going to just fall out. Science tells us that information that is learned over time is better remembered than information learned all at once. Known as the spacing effect, this idea has been studied extensively by neuroscientists and psychologists. When you space your studying over time, you can carefully store each item in your mental locker. Then, when you need to find a specific item, it’s a lot easier to find and junk doesn’t just keep falling out every time you open the locker door.
Cramming also contributes to testing anxiety, and testing anxiety is definitely not going to help your final exam score. When you wait to the last minute to cram for the test, you put tons of pressure on yourself that can easily build into anxiety. Self-doubt creeps in, and before you know it, not only have you not efficiently learned the material, you’ve reduced yourself to a quivering ball of stress. Not the best recipe for exam success.
Instead of spending five or six hours cramming for the final the night before, spend an hour a day over five or six days studying. You’ll learn more efficiently AND avoid a common testing anxiety trigger.
Tip #2: Be healthy – exercise, sleep, and eat right
This is a tip that’s easy to skip over. You’re young, you’re healthy – you’ve got your whole life to worry about things like diet and exercise, so why bother now? Science proves that healthy lifestyle choices make you smarter.
A study out of the University of British Columbia found that regular cardio literally makes your brain bigger. Specifically, regular aerobic exercise was associated with a bigger hippocampus, the part of the brain that deals with verbal memory and learning.
It’s not the just the location that you should switch up – you should also switch up the material itself. Instead of spending an entire study session working on memorizing the battles of the Civil War for history class, mix it up. In one study session, spend some time studying the battles of the Civil War, then spend some time doing practice free response questions about Reconstruction, then spend some time studying important terms from the relevant chapters. This kind of mixed practice helps the brain pick up on deeper patterns, leading to better quality learning and easier-to-access memories.
Tip #4: Learn to teach
Don’t study as if you’re going to recall the information for a test (even though you will). Study as if you’re going to teach the information to someone else. Studies indicate that you’re more likely to understand and retain information if you learn it with the intent of explaining it to someone else. Then, take this study method to the next level and actually teach the concepts to someone else. Ideally, you’ll find a classmate or friend to teach it to – someone who can ask questions and force you to really roll the information around in your mind. If not, teach it to your dog, to a stuffed animal, or to the wall. By forcing yourself to explain the information and all of its nuances, you’ll force yourself to better understand it.
Tip #5: Test yourself
Too often, we think of tests as a way to evaluate what you’ve learned. Instead, try thinking of tests as a way of learning. Studies show that when we test ourselves on information, we force ourselves to recall the material; the more we recall that material, the easier it becomes to recall the same information in the future. So take practice tests, even if you have to write your own. Look at the headings in your text book and make yourself recall the information contained in that section. Do anything you can think of to routinely test yourself on the things you’re studying – not to see whether you’ve learned them yet, but to help yourself learn them better.
https://www.c2educate.com/wp-content/uploads/female-student-studying-for-finals.jpg14232107C2 Educationhttps://www.c2educate.com/wp-content/uploads/logo.pngC2 Education2017-11-16 13:46:522018-01-10 18:07:47Five Tips to Help You Prep for Finals