Master the Science of Studying

By Nipissing University Modified on December 16, 2018

Ace your finals!

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How is it possible that we’re already at the end of another term? We compiled a few strategies that will lower your stress level, maximize your ability to recall information, and ultimately improve your study habits. Here’s to success on any test!

A Little Bit Every Day Goes a Long Way
Generally, cramming all of your studying into the few days leading up to a test is ineffective unhealthy, and ahem, not a real strategy. Imagine the stress on your whole body as you try to review and commit to memory all material the night before testing. Instead, stay on top of course material by studying smaller sections more frequently and setting aside some time a few days a week to write notes and review concepts. This technique gives you time to absorb the material and the opportunity to approach your teachers with any questions you have before test day.

Find Your Study Spaces
Sadly, studying while in bed and snuggled into your pajamas doesn’t prove to be the best strategy. Not surprising, the best place to study is in an environment that is similar to the one in which you will be tested. This apparently helps you recall information more efficiently and prepares you both mentally and physically. Finding a comfortable space at a desk or table and ensuring that your environment is distraction free is ideal. Research also suggests that switching up your study spot may improve your ability to remember course material. It’s worth a shot!

Take a Break
It may seem counterintuitive to stop studying, but taking planned breaks will allow you to recharge and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed or frustrated. This actually helps you to remember information. Some people prefer to study for one hour at a time with a short break in between each hour while others are more productive if they study for a couple hours and then take a longer break. Adopt a study routine that works best for you. Whatever your style, remember to give yourself some time to eat proper meals and stay active.

Get Creative
Many assume that reading textbooks and highlighting important facts will allow them to succeed. However, this is often not an effective strategy for studying. Instead, try coming up with some creative methods to help you remember course information. You can use visual aids like flow charts or illustrated flashcards, turn what you’re learning into a story, or teach the content to an imaginary (or real) audience. These techniques can be especially helpful when you’re studying for multiple finals over a longer period of time and need some inspiration to stay motivated.

Ultimately, it takes a bit of trial and error to determine the methods that suit you best. Check out our academic skills resources for more helpful studying strategies and other tools for success!