Woman studying for her college exam

Study Tips for Your College Exams

Have a hard exam coming up? We promise it isn’t as tough as it may seem. All students are different, some are good at cramming information, others need time to soak in all the information from class. It just takes some time and experimenting with what works best for you. That’s why we came up with this list of study tips for your college exams.

The following study tips will help you be prepared for your next big exam!

Get the Details on the Exam

Make sure you get as much information as you can about your tests. Most of the time, teachers are willing to share where they come up with the questions that will pop up on exam day. Some might also give out closely related examples to help you get an idea of what’s in store. All you have to do is ask! Here are some great questions to ask your professor before you start studying:

  • How many questions will be on the exam?
  • Should we focus on definitions or terminology?
  • Will the test be multiple choice or short essay questions?
  • Will there be a study guide?

The answers to these questions can help you determine the perfect strategy to take on studying. They can also help you plan on how much time you can spend per question.

Get a Head Start on Studying

Studying and recapping on a section every day for a week or two before a hard exam is a great way to minimize test anxiety. It doesn’t matter if it’s 15 minutes or an hour a day, you’ll accumulate more knowledge than you would trying to cram the day before the test. Studying daily will also help you get enough sleep the day before your exam and allow you to have more time for other classes.

Highlight Important Material

Your professor has already started indicating what materials you should be paying extra attention to. Homeworks, quizzes, handouts, notes, and classwork cover most significant topics that are more likely to appear on the test. Although you probably shouldn’t highlight everything, take good note of the topics your professor tells you to pay attention to and the areas in which you don’t understand. It’ll help you refine any rough edges when you start studying.

Another great way to determine the right highlight-worthy material is by reading all of a paragraph before you stroke away. Once you’re finished reading, you can clearly determine what is important and what isn’t. It’ll also help you avoid having highlighted unimportant material.

Cut Out Time Consuming Distractions

It’s hard to retain any information when you’re doing more than one thing. Cut off any television, video games, phone calls, and other modern-day distractions that will have you turning your head every minute. Even dirty study areas can be distracting at times. You can take a break every 30 minutes so that you don’t get start daydreaming about other things.

Practice Like Problems

Are there problems that you know are going to be on the exam? Make sure to practice and study up on terms and exercises that you know are going to pop up. If you have a math or science exam, ask your teacher for problems similar to the ones on the exam. These will help you learn the steps needed to reach the right answer. Of course, practice makes perfect so make sure to work on any problems you need help on.

Study With Visual Aids

Have you tried using visual aids to study for an exam? Don’t sweat it, there are plenty of students that connect the dots better when they visualize what they’re learning about. Chances are, there are plenty of videos, infographics, and pre-recorded podcasts that can help break down a difficult topic for you. All you have to do is put Google to work for you. Sites like Youtube, TeacherTube, and Khan Academy are free resources to use for courses dealing with Math, Science and Engineering, Computing, Arts and Humanities, and Economics and Finances.

Cover One Topic Per Study Session

Never try to learn everything in one night. Even if you’re weeks ahead of schedule, cramming is not the way to go. It only leads to confusion and leaves less time for you to review a topic. 

Focusing on one topic per session will allow you to cover something in-depth and keep you from getting confused. It’ll help you get one step closer to becoming an expert and boost your morale before the hard exam.

Study With Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to achieve academic success. If you’re making your own flashcards, you’re basically studying in two different ways. First, when you write them down, and second when you practice by yourself or a friend. The repetitive studying helps ingrain key terms in the back of your brain.

Form a Study Group 

Two is better than one, and in this case, the more the merrier. Study groups allow you to compare notes and clear up foggy concepts that may come up in the test. You’ll also learn to pick up helpful study methods that can help you in future exams. Just make sure all of the members in your study group contribute their equal share for maximum results.

Study in More Than One Place

Changing your environment while studying will allow you to get used to different environments. Although studying with friends and in public places can be louder than a testing environment, it can help make studying a bit more engaging. This means you’ll be more likely to remember study topics even after finishing the course.

Get Some Tutoring

Sometimes, you have to turn to the experts to earn that grade you’re looking for. Every upper-level institution is filled with professors and tutors that can help answer any of your questions. These professionals have already been in your shoes and can teach you the best learning methods.

Be Prepared for the Exam

Don’t be that person who arrives unprepared for the exam. Make sure to buy extra scantrons and writing materials at the beginning of the semester and keep them in a memorable spot. This way, you can avoid having to rush to the bookstore on campus before class.

Treat Exam Day Like Any Other

One of the biggest mistakes you can make during exam day is doing something out of your regular routine. For example, eating a larger meal than usual right before the exam. You wouldn’t want your stomach to act up while you are halfway through answering all the questions. It’s better to take the safe route and take exam day lightly. Just make sure to arrive early to class so that you won’t have to worry about not having enough time.

Give Yourself a Break

Never spend too much time studying, or it can end up working against you. The brain also works like a muscle, if you exercise it too much, you’ll be less likely to retain important knowledge in the long run. Make sure you take regular breaks from your books, computers, and phones the next time you’re studying for a difficult exam. You’ll want to avoid devices that emit blue light because they can tire your eyes. Instead, try to get up and enjoy a nice outdoor walk through the neighborhood or on campus. Besides, vitamin D is a great way to promote a healthy brain and weight loss.

Lightly Review the Day of the Exam

The last study tip we have for you is to lightly review an hour before the hard exam. Make sure to have a review sheet or some neat flashcards that will help give you one last recap before showtime. Just remember that you’ve been working up for this moment and you’ll do just fine.