studying tips

Study Tips for Exam Week

As you prepare for final exams, you need to have a strategy to make it through the week. These studying tips will help you organize your time and succeed.

Get Enough Sleep

exam week take a nap
First things first, get enough sleep! When studying for exam week it is best to study in advance instead of cramming the night before. Try to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night. You need enough sleep to recall information and think through the questions. Once you’ve finished studying for the night try to relax so that you can get to sleep more easily.

Take Breaks

exam week take a break
While you are studying, it is best to take a break every few hours. You can only concentrate for so long and you need to take breaks to retain information. After so many hours of studying, take 30-60 minutes to do something mindless that you enjoy.  Watch an episode of your latest Netflix addiction or scroll through your social media news feed and forget about the stress for a while.

Type Your Notes

exam week type your notes

Type out your notes from class and combine the information with corresponding facts from the textbooks. This way you have a comprehensive overview of the material to review. If you already type your notes in class add information from the textbook to make sure that you will remember all of the information you need to succeed. If you do this throughout the semester you will have a comprehensive study guide for the semester.

Study in Groups

exam week study groups

Studying in groups is helpful when comparing and contrasting notes, especially if you have a difficult professor. Sharing study tips with each other is also helpful. Some people study better alone but most people benefit from studying as a group. In a group you can ask and answer questions to prepare for the exam and discuss the information that you think is the most important. There should be places for you to study in groups at the library and you can usually reserve a study room.

Make Flashcards

exam week flashcards
Making flashcards is a great way to review for your exams. You can use the term on one side to either write out the definition or you can use the definition on one side to review the term or fact. It is best to make flash cards throughout the semester and keep them in a file to review at the end of the semester. The information can seem less overwhelming when it’s broken up into individual questions you are tackling one at a time.

Drink Coffee

exam week drink coffee
Drinking coffee will help you be more alert and be able to think more clearly. If your classes are in the morning and you have been studying late, make sure to drink coffee to wake up. If you have night classes, it is still a good idea to drink coffee before a night exam to avoid getting tired. Make sure you drink a glass of water to each cup of coffee you have to avoid dehydration.

Review the Chapters

exam week Review the Chapters

If you have time, re-read the chapters your exams are covering. If not, scan the chapters and find the information that you think is most important and facts that you have covered in your notes and the text. Studying the textbook is the best way to succeed in most classes. Most of the test will come from the reading because the professors want to make sure that you did the required reading that they assigned and paid attention to their lectures on the textbook in class.

Listen to Music

exam week listen to music

Listening to a playlist while you study for exams can help you relax. Most students get nervous before exams, especially if this is your first semester or year. You can go to youtube and listen to music for exam study concentration or to cool down between study sessions.

Bring Snacks

studying tips bring snacksYou should bring a water bottle or drink and a snack to class if you are taking a long exam and the professor allows you to do so. Drinking too much caffeine can make you shakey. Make sure to stay hydrated and eat every so many hours to stay steady.

Follow these studying tips to the best of your ability and you will have success on exam week. Once you have finished exams, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishment! Go out with friends or go holiday shopping. Good luck! Have any other tips? Share with us in the comments below!

Best Genres of Music for Studying

Most of us dread studying and would do just about anything to make it more enjoyable. Adding music to your studying routine can be beneficial to you for many reasons. Listening to a variety of genres can influence your mood and attention span to create the best studying atmosphere for you. Here are some genres of music that you would be smart to add to your studying playlist.

Classical Music


Listening to classical music while studying or writing can really help you focus. Classical music is based on steady tempos and is generally composed of instruments that play quieter tones. Therefore, it is more likely that you will be able to concentrate on the information and it will be less easy for you to get distracted by the music. Classical music can also help you relax and take your mind off of irrelevant things that could distract you while studying.

Pop/Rock Music

music - pop/rock

Rather than listening to loud rock or alternative styles, listening to quieter pop/rock compositions can be less distracting background noise when studying. Listening to pop music is known to increase self-esteem and listening to rock music is known to enhance creativity. Put those two together and you have a winning combination. Additionally, the extra confidence can really help drown out the doubt you may have if you are nervous about the exam you are studying for.

Cultural Music

music - cultural

Listening to music from other cultures in the world can be very interesting and can also help you be more creative and more knowledgeable in your studies. Exposing your brain to new rhythms and languages helps keep your mind sharp. Have fun finding new music and learning a thing or two along the way. It’s best to choose steady, light beats that allow you to relax and concentrate.

These are the genres of music that I have found to be most beneficial to my studying. Each person finds music helps them study in different ways. Try these genres out and see which fits your studying style best.

Creative Ways to Study History

When you are in college, learning about the cultural issues in history can be challenging. Here are some creative ways you can learn about a diverse range of cultural issues in European and American history.

Watch History Movies

Watching films that have a historical theme can help you receive a background in history, literary time periods and the arts. Films that are based on history provide a cultural framework that describes the popular issues in history at that time. Go ahead, make learning history fun. Some of the most popular historical films include Marie Antoinette, The Duchess, Gone with the Wind, Young Victoria, The Duchess, Schindler’s List, Alexander, Henry V, Pompeii, Letters from Iwo Jima, Elizabeth, Titanic, Ben Hur, Agora, Munich, The King’s Speech, The Patriot, and Brave Heart.

Attend Operas

You can learn more about Italian, French, and Chinese history and literature by watching operas. Popular French operas originated in the 17th century and will help you learn about life and society during the classical age. The opera is characterized by tragedy. Through the musical performance, operas describe and define cultural issues based on the class warfare, war, royalty, revolution, and romance. Some of the more popular operas include Carmen, Faust, The Tales of Hoffman, Pomone, Don Quichotte, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet. Operas originated in Italy in 1600. Some of the most popular operas include Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, Otello, Guilio Cesare, Attila, Macbeth, among others. There are also Russian operas that emerged in the 18th century such as War and Peace, Oresteia, and the Queen of Spades. And also you can learn about the culture and heritage of China by studying the origins of Chinese opera. More than likely, your college or university will host operas at the performing art center for you to watch.

Attend Classic Ballets

Watching or attending classical ballets is a great way to learn more about history and culture. You can learn more about literature by watching ballet performances based on Shakespeare’s plays. You can watch Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, The Merry Wives of Windsor, among others performed as ballets. Ballets are based on timeless romances include magic/sorcery, fairy tales, and tragic endings to define hidden cultural aspects at that time. Similar to the opera, cultural issues pertaining to class warfare, war, and revolution is often defined by the allusions in the film. Literature is a theme in ballet since there are storybook ballets and other literary pieces are transformed into ballets. There are some ballets that are also operas, such as Carmen and Don Quixote, and it is interesting to watch the differences in how they are performed. Also, classical ballets include Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Carmen, and Don Quixote. Storybook ballets include The Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella. You can learn about French and Russian history by studying classical ballets. The performing arts center at either your college or one near you should host ballets. During the holiday season, watching The Nutcracker live is a great way to celebrate the holidays.

You can share your experience about the cultural issues found in historical films, operas and ballets with others and your professors. Part of the learning experience in college is to connect arts and culture to historical themes and literature to history. In order to become educated you must connect ideas, themes and patterns to a greater cultural context. You can keep a journal of the information you learned by watching history performed as an art which can help you on tests and write research papers. Enjoy your nontraditional studying of history!

Basic Studying Tips Reinvented

Everyone knows the basic studying tips: note cards, reading and notes. These are cookie-cutter study tips everyone knows, but they don’t always work for everyone. These tips below are variations on the basic tips and allow you to make studying fit your personality! If you make your studying habits your own, this allows you to learn and understand the material, instead of just memorizing it.

Note Cards



The basic version is to write a word on one side and the textbook definition on the other. Instead, try reading as much as you can stand about the topic: read the chapter, an article, etc. Once you feel like you’ve got a grasp on the topic, that’s when you write your note cards out. Write the note cards in your own words and in whatever style fits you better: lists, prose, shorthand, anything.

Why it Works: If you understand a topic before you write about it, or take notes on it, the notes then become a review-not a lesson.



Reading the textbook is a necessity to taking most classes. Studies have shown that just reading the textbook and rereading it until you know it is one of the least effective ways to learn material. So, this tip is for anyone who doesn’t like notes or note cards, and just reads the material. Read something other than the standard textbook. Read the material in the book for the class and then find another source-be that another book, an article, a documentary, or YouTube video about the topic- and study that one too. Sometimes reading the same book written in the same voice causes people to zone out while studying. Don’t zone!

Why it Works: Supplementing your reading with other sources will give you a better idea of the material and be more familiar with it.



Notes can be basic: you write down things you think are important as you read. This works for some people, but for others its just going through a motion. Instead try a similar tactic to the note card strategy: read in its entirety and then take notes. Write the notes in your own words, and write them as if you’re explaining it to someone else.

Why it Works: When you’re going back through and reviewing the notes, you’ll be able to easily understand them and follow the material without having to crack the book open again.

These are variations on studying tips I’ve found to work for me.Understanding the material is the best way to remember it. Good luck hitting the books!

Comment below if they helped or if you’ve found variations of your own.