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10 Tips for Acing Your Exams

There is no better feeling than walking out of a test knowing that you totally rocked it and have a great opportunity at getting the A you need to bring up your GPA. On the contrary, walking out of a test knowing that you bombed the exam totally sucks. For those who come out with their heads held high, keep doing what you’re doing. For those who are looking for a little guidance, read on. There are quite a few things you can do to increase those test scores–and sorry, cheating isn’t one of them.

1. GO TO CLASS. It sounds easy, but going to class is extremely underrated. Not only will it help with those in-class pop quizzes and attendance scores, but you’ll also figure out what your teacher is emphasizing for exams.

2. WRITE EXAM DATES IN YOUR CALENDAR. Planning ahead can help you organize your schedule before things start piling up; this way you can plan when to study for exams and when to work on that big research paper. By having your important dates organized in a calendar, you are constantly being reminded of upcoming deadlines. No more excuses to procrastinate!

3. STUDY IN A NEAT, QUIET, CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. Studies have shown that students who are studying in an organized environment are more likely to retain more information and make better grades. If you’ve got the time, you may want to consider tidying up before you crack open that textbook.

4. STUDY BASED ON YOUR LEARNING STYLE. Everyone is a little different when it comes to the way they study. Are you better at using flashcards or talking to others about particular concepts? Click here to see what kind of learning style suits your personality. By discovering how you normally process information, you can ignore ineffective learning techniques and focus on what clicks for you.

5. CREATE A STUDY GROUP. If you don’t already know some people  in your class, start making new friends! It is very helpful to get different perspectives on material; chances are you didn’t write down every single note or concept. When selecting study partners, make sure to choose people who actively participate in class. You want to include the annoying chick who raises her hand for every question, not the guy dozing off in the back of class.

6. STUDY IN ADVANCE. Yes, there are over 1,000 things you can think of doing instead of studying for a test. But guess what, you’re a big kid now and you need to start handling important priorities. Try taking 30 minutes or so to review the material every day instead of pulling an all-nighter. Give enough time to let the material sink in; cramming will push everything into your short-term memory banks, which is about as unreliable as an umbrella in a hurricane.

7. TAKE STUDY BREAKS. Study breaks are crucial because it gives your brain a little downtime to relax and let the material sink in better. If you push yourself too hard for too long, your brain will hit what I like to call “information overload”. Try and study at a consistent pace, taking breaks as needed, to lower your stress levels. You shouldn’t have to rely on No-Dos and Red Bulls to get you through those 6 chapters the night before the exam.

8. GO TO OFFICE HOURS. If there are any concepts you’re having trouble with, talk to your teacher about it. It is their job to help you, and office hours are their set times to talk to students in need.

9. MAKE A STUDY GUIDE. If the professor has not provided one for you, make an outline of the material that will be covered on the exam. This way you’ll have a bird’s eye view of what to study and what you can skip over.

10 REST UP. In my personal experience, getting a good night’s sleep TWO nights before the exam is crucial. Eating well–yes, that means a healthy meal–the night before and the morning of the test are also very important; your brain needs energy to properly function during the exam.

Study hard and make those grades!



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