Catching Some Zzzzzzzzzzzzzs Will Likely Help You Net A’s and B’s

We have all heard the expression, “Get a good night’s sleep.” While this might be sound medical advice, it is also excellent academic advice. Studies have shown that students who consistently get a good night’s sleep can remember almost 20% more on tests of newly learned information than students who don’t.

Not only is regular sleep beneficial for cognition, but cat naps can also be helpful. Numerous studies have shown that even a 10-minute nap can enhance energy and concentration.

The Mishaps of Memory

How many times have you begun an exam thinking, “I’ve got
this!” and ended it muttering, “Maybe it’s not too late to drop the class…”?

Such calamities occur because of our metamemory—or how we think about our memory. In general, people are not very good at evaluating their own ability to memorize information. So essentially, we are overconfident and we think that we have
memorized information sufficiently when we really have not.

The best way to overcome this typical human error is quiz yourself on the meaning of the concepts, their relation to other concepts, and their overall context. When you start to quiz yourself like this, only then can you ascertain whether or not you have truly encoded the information.

 

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Skim Please! And We’re Not Talking about Milk…

Before every lecture, it’s good to know what you’re getting
into. That is why skimming the relevant chapters before class can be very
helpful to become acquainted with the material even before the professor
discusses it. After the lecture, go back and read the material more closely
with the aim of trying to understand, as opposed to simply reading through
words.

A 24-Hour Review Makes Information Stick Like Glue!

Did you know that reviewing new material within the first 24
hours of learning it helps you increase your retention of that knowledge by
60%?

So while it may be tempting to close your notebook after class and let it
collect dust, you’ll be doing your brain a world of good by reviewing your
notes pronto.

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Enduring the Final Flurry

The collegiate equivalent of Judgment Day is here: finals.

Getting through them, however, doesn’t have to feel like divine punishment.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make the process more bearable. Some
students spend equal amounts of time preparing for each final. Instead, proportion
your study time to how difficult the final is likely to be and how well you
have mastered the material.

Another important tip is to be clear about is what materials are going to be on the final. Are text readings included, or is the final going to focus entirely on lecture material? Will it be comprehensive or cumulative final? Knowing the range—and the limits—of the final will make it easier to organize and structure your study time. Taking time to employ these tips may very well be your saving grace!

 

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End of Semester Stress-Busting Strategies

Papers are piling up. Test prep has you restless. Your head feels like it’s being hammered. While the end of any semester is stress inducing for even the most steadfast students, there are steps you can take to tame your tension.

Work off your frustration by working out. Even if you don’t have time to do a full-blown gym visit, a brisk walk around campus can do wonders.

Spend time with people who energize you. We all know the type—after you spend time with them, you simply feel better. Taking a few minutes to close your eyes and meditate can also help you to find calm and focus.

 
 
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Stupendous Study Tips for a Blissful Brain, Part III

While the idea of testing is as about as tempting as touching a tarantula, test practice on your own can yield big benefits. Research shows that when students test themselves after studying, they have a far easier time recalling the information than if they hadn’t tested themselves.

This is because retrieving information from memory improves your ability to remember it in the future. The more information you can consolidate in your memory, the more relaxed you’ll be for exam day. This way, you won’t be caught in the web of test taking anxiety!

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You’ll Be Ready for Showtime in No Time!

So you have a big exam in theater history. To get ready, you need to do a little rehearsal, but not the kind involving blocking or lighting. In order to best retain everything from Balzac to Beckett, you will need to do what is known as elaborative rehearsal. Such a strategy involves thinking about the meaning of what you study.

One of the best ways to do this is to write down the ideas in your own words. This is because when you generate information, you remember it far better than simply by recognizing it.  Try it—and when the curtain raises on exam day, your test performance will be drama-free!

 
 
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Tackling Test Anxiety

While stress-free test taking sounds about as feasible as a functional Congress, it can be done. In fact, there are several tactics you can employ to ensure you don’t have your own personal shutdown during your exam.

  • Get ahead of the game by getting a good night’s rest. When you get sufficient sleep, ultimately, you are more in control of your day. Make sure to spend your last hour awake doing relaxing activities, such as taking a bath or reading for fun. Try not to turn on your computer or watch TV, as their light mimics sunlight and confuses your body.

  • Visualize stellar test-taking performance. While it might sound like a bunch of hocus pocus, visualization can actually be quite effective because it primes you for success. Imagine yourself knowing the material and seeing that information flowing out of you and onto the exam page.

  • Don’t forget to breathe. Deep breathing is immensely helpful when we go into fight or flight mode, such as during test time. Twenty minutes before the exam, practice breathing in deeply, to the point where your belly rises and falls. Keep doing this until you feel your nerves ease up.

 

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Reading with a Raucous Roommate

So you’re trying to cram for a psych exam, and your roommate is blasting Miley Cyrus.

Before taking a wrecking ball to her stereo, you might want to think about what it is you really want to accomplish: getting a little peace and quiet so you can concentrate, right?

Here are a couple of tips to make sure that you do just that:

  1. Get to know your roommate. While you and your roommate may be vastly different, try talking to her to find out where she’s coming from. Even knowing just basic facts about each other can help you relate to one another.
  2. Set ground rules together. Try to agree on times when it’s too late to play music and decide what times the room should be noise free.
  3. Speak up when you have something to say. One of the worst things to do is to be upset and not say anything. If you have a concern, voice it POLITELY. Your roommate may not understand that what she is doing is annoying or offensive.
  4. Provide alternatives. If your roommate plays loud video games, suggest she use earphones.
  5. Step up your game if necessary. If after repeated requests your roommate is still disrespecting your boundaries, set up a meeting with your roommate and your RA. Your RA will have had practice in trying to help people overcoming similar problems.

 

 

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Stupendous Study Tips for a Blissful Brain, Part II

When you need to study several topics in the same study session, it’s wisest to review subjects that are as different as possible. This happens because interference from related information makes it difficult to access information.

For example, if you were to study Italian and then Portuguese, you would have more difficulty remembering information from both topics than if you were to study Italian and then chemistry.

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Don’t Get Tripped up on the True-False Waltz

True-false questions can seem like a deceptively simple two-option answer. Here are a few tricks to make sure you don’t misstep:

  • As long as there is no guessing penalty, try to make an educated guess. Leaving a blank would be criminal. After all, you have a 50% chance of being right!
  • Words such as “always,” “never” and “every” indicate that a statement must be true all of the time. These types of words usually lead to an answer of “false.”
  • Words such as “sometimes,” “generally,” and “usually” mean that, depending on the situation, the statement can be true or false. Such words frequently result in an answer of “true.”
  • Most true-false tests have more true answers than false answers. So if you’re at the end of the true-false section and you feel like you bombed it, go back and count. What’s your true to false ratio? If you have more false than true answers, you may want to go back and revise the answers about which you are unsure.
  • If there is any part of a statement that is false, then the whole statement is false. HOWEVER, just because a portion of the statement is true, does not mean that the whole statement is true. Got it?

Want more helpful Test-taking Tips? Take a workshop at The Study!

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