Study These: The Do’s and Dont’s of Studying

Updated: If you get through this article (and exams), we have something to make your day better below.

This is it: the big final worth 40% of your grade is tomorrow. After hours of doing everything but studying, you’ve finally decided to settle down and get to work. But it’s late, you’re tired, and the piles of information you don’t remember learning are giving you a migraine. Panic begins to set in.

Not a pretty scenario, is it? Don’t fret, for I have put together this handy guide to help make sure this doesn’t happen to you. You’ll thank me later, when you’re not drinking your third can of Red Bull at 3:32 AM.

Studying 101

DO stay organized. Sorting notes by date, topic, or colour of ink will make finding specific information faster and more efficient. Studying is a lot less infuriating when you can find everything you’re looking for. Oh, and make a schedule if you have other events and activities to study around.

Assuming you’re allowed, DON’T just record your lectures. Recording is fine for listening later, but you should take notes and actually pay attention. The more senses you use, the better you’ll remember the information. Bonus: talk to your seat partners about swapping notes after class. This increases the chances of getting all the important info and gives you a chance to meet people.

DO keep old tests and quizzes. Sometimes finals have questions from previous assessments, so it’s good to look them over while studying. See what you got wrong in the past, and which areas you need to focus more on this time around.

DON’T start studying at the last minute. I know, you’re in the middle of a really cool arc in Fairy Tail, but the longer you wait to start your review, the more stressed you’ll be later. At the very least, study a little bit every day so you’re not cramming the night before.

“If you chew gum while learning the information, then chew the same flavour again while applying it, there’s a better chance that you’ll recall it.”

With that in mind, DO take breaks. No, don’t use this as an excuse to get lost on Tumblr for 3 hours. It happens. By break, I mean letting your mind think of something other than 100 pages of notes for 5-10 minutes. Go for a brisk walk, do a chore, read a chapter of your favourite bookany short activity. Remember, there’s a difference between procrastinating and taking a break.

DON’T study where you’ll be distracted. Hide the remote, use Self Control to lock yourself out of social media for a few hours, and put your phone on selective silence. Out of sight, out of mind. This rule also includes people; study groups are great and can work wonders, but only if you’re sure that you and your buddies won’t turn your notes into paper planes.

DO keep up with your readings. Taking your notes gradually throughout the year solidifies everything you learn, and makes for a great review.

DON’T forget to feed yourself. It’s hard to focus when your stomach is screaming for food. Keep water and a non-residue-leaving snack on hand to keep you energized as you stuff information into your cranium.

DO chew gum while studying, then again when taking the test (if allowed). If you chew while learning the information, then chew the same flavour again while applying it, there’s a better chance that you’ll recall it. Your brain will associate the flavour with reading the information, helping you remember what a sphygmomanometer is. True story.

DON’T stay up all night. Resting your brain is crucial in retaining information long term. Studying instead of sleeping doesn’t always lead to remembering. Study as much as you can until a certain point, and then call it a night. You can always continue reviewing when you wake up.

DO know your resources. Does your school have an online chat room for students to ask and answer each other’s questions? Is there tutoring available? Do your professors post their presentations online for students to review later? Remember, lectures and textbooks aren’t your only options.

Now go kick some assessments!

And here’s something to make your day better, thanks to Ron Swanson:

Got your own study tips? You know what to do!

Photo courtesy: Mrehan 

Rebecca Tunney

Rebecca Tunney

Rebecca Tunney is studying Anthropology at the University of Toronto in Mississauga. She is an aspiring novelist, vocalist when required, lover of cupcakes, and jack of all trades—but training to master something.