Tips for Exam Season

Study ahead of time
Procrastination fever? We get you, but studying more than just a couple days before a test can make the biggest difference. It helps you avoid last minute questions, prevents cramming information, and lowers stress. Giving yourself enough time to divide up the amount of work you have can significantly improve how well you’re able to focus, which can be a game changer to your grades.

Look at notes not just study guides
Many teachers will give you study guides, but these are solely an outline of what you should focus on. Looking at any notes you took in class, focusing during in-class lectures, and reviewing old homework assignments can really be the best resource when studying for an upcoming exam. Don’t get us wrong, study guides are great resources, but it is important to consider all the others that can elevate your study experience.

OFFICE HOUR AT ITS FINEST: Students go to one of their classes, in this case, Chemistry class during office hours to redo labs and review chemistry. Study partners work together to review for an upcoming Chemistry exam. This is a huge benefit and can really be a game changer to your grade. Teamwork truly is the dream work. Office hours can give you the opportunity to ask teachers and partners questions and receive insight on future projects. It also may allow you to get hints from teachers about what may be on the test and get a verbal study guide from teachers.

Use office hour wisely

Office hours are incredibly important, and if you use them correctly, they can totally decrease the time you spend on homework at home. Especially during the weeks leading up to finals, office hours are useful to contact teachers, look at what you got wrong on your tests and quizzes, catch up on homework, and make up anything that you missed while absent. Office hours are quite a magnificent tool that many schools don’t offer, so it is really important that you use it to your advantage.

Write things down
I bet you heard it a million times from your teachers, but it’s true. Writing down your information, whether the old-fashioned way, on paper, or on Notability can really help you recall a lot of information before an important test and definitely before finals. It may sound like a lot more work, but it will definitely pay off when you get that “A” on your test. You can use different colors and formats to season your notes to your taste. Studies show that writing things down before an exam can be one of the beneficial study methods out there.

Ask teachers questions and ask them what to expect
Teachers can be intimidating, but we promise you, they are here to help. Asking teachers questions can not only help you but can help others around you. It can spark class discussions along with clarifying any misconceptions. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to ask in front of your class, you can always email your teachers, see them during office hours, or meet up with them after school. Seeing your teachers and staying in contact with them when you’re struggling can be a helpful asset to your grade. You can also ask teachers what to expect and some may even give you hints or a verbal study guide.

Have study partners
Study partners can be great, if you find the right ones. Finding study partners can be a hard thing but once you do, it will be a life changer. They will give you a ton of motivation to persevere and reach your goals, they will help you review for big tests (especially finals), and can answer some of your questions. These study groups or partners can be amazing when wanting to test yourself. So how can you find study partners? The best way is going into your classes during office hours. There, you will meet other people that have the same teacher and class which will be perfect for you when needing help. You can also ask your teachers if you are looking for a group of people to study with.

Pay attention to previous tests and quizzes
This tip is extremely underrated. Going back during office hours to see what you got wrong on your test and jotting these things down can be super helpful for when you are reviewing for finals, so you can see what you struggled with before. Some finals are even made up of questions that you have already seen before on previous tests. If your teacher allows it, you should definitely use that to your advantage and review previous test or quiz questions because they may reappear on your final.

Use peer tutoring
Peer tutoring can be very helpful when needing one-on-one help when you can’t get a hold of your teacher. If you are looking for a peer tutor, make sure to talk to your counselor or ask your teachers and they will direct you. You can also be a peer tutor yourself (for service hours!), just ask your counselor for more information. Peer tutoring can be helpful because you will be with other students that are experts in whatever you are struggling with and they will have more availability and time.

Staying organized
This tip is definitely one of the most important and helpful tips there is. If you have everything well sorted out, you can see all you need to accomplish and have a better visual of when assignments need to be done. Believe us, we know it’s hard to study for many hours straight and actually get stuff done. A schedule with what is due and when will keep your priorities in check. Setting small goals will also lead to bigger goals and are little steps to staying organized.

Taking mini breaks
Studying for a long time with no breaks is really difficult. Taking mini breaks is really helpful because they relieve the mind and you are more likely to stay focused when you come back. When you are on your break, grab a snack and some water to fuel you. Try your best not to go on any socials because it is tested as the number one distraction when completing work. Taking breaks can look like anything from walking outside to reading, either way spending time away from your work is super important. Being stuck on the same computer, iPad, or paper can give you eye strains and headaches, so going outside and getting fresh air can really help.

Teach someone else
When you teach someone else about what you’re learning, it can actually teach you and help you learn. We know it sounds like a tongue twister, but essentially teaching someone else teaches you. It’s called the protege effect, which occurs when someone puts in more effort trying to teach you so they end up learning themselves. It probably seems like a ton of work, but trust me when we say it really does work. Just grab a friend or a family member and teach them!

Eliminate distractions
When you go to a coffee shop or friend’s house, do you really study or just mindlessly wander off and chit chat? Those are distractions that can really affect your concentration. Instead of going to a busy place to study, try sitting in a quiet place like your living area, grab some food, and work from there. You will be surprised by how much more you will accomplish and how focused you become. Never underestimate the power of silence!

Switch up your setting
Pain. Research has shown that sitting in an uncomfortable position can affect your willingness to focus and absorb the information being learned, which is why all of your teachers tell you to sit up straight! So sitting up straight and tall will help you focus to get the work that needs to be done! Lighting and color also have a key role in learning. Dimly lit places with a good amount of color will help you to stay engaged.

Utilize memorization techniques
Research shows that students who use memory tricks perform better on tests than those who do not. That’s how you know that memorizing information works. Memory tricks help you expand your working memory and long term memory, which makes it more likely to recall that information. That’s why going over your notecards and study materials multiple times can help on tests!