Study strategies for a better test grade

Finals week is a tough time for students. To make it better, there are ways to effectively study.
Photo Credit: Carlos Leyva
Finals week is a tough time for students. To make it better, there are ways to effectively study.Photo Credit: Carlos Leyva
Finals week is a tough time for students. To make it better, there are ways to effectively study.
Photo Credit: Carlos Leyva

Mid-term examinations are right around the corner and the pressure to do well continues to escalate as testing days get closer. You cram and scan over the information you learned during the semester, but it is a challenge to retain all of the content. The question is, how can you study effectively?

Here are a few study hacks that can boost your performance during your exams.

Study before you sleep

Studying before you hit the hay contributes to your ability to recall facts. According to Jessica Payne, a University of Notre Dame psychologist who conducted a sleep study in 2012, says that “sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory.” The brain files all of this information as we sleep, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep helps you retain what you learned.

However, in order for this to be effective, you must have a regular sleeping schedule of at least eight hours each night. Individuals who possess an inconsistent sleeping schedule will not learn as efficiently as those who maintain a consistent sleeping routine. In fact, an abnormal sleeping regimen can cause negative stress to your body instead.

Although devoting an entire night to studying has its perks, it does not benefit you nearly as much as it limits your ability to do your best on the test. On test day, you will be less alert and unable to concentrate because of the lack of sleep. Without enough rest, you will not be able process information as you usually do with a full night of sleep, thus affecting your testing performance.

Use tables and outlines

With tables and outlines, you are able to condense all the information you learned throughout the semester into a compact study guide. Also, categorizing your information makes it easier to search for the details you need. According to Psych Central, sticking to a standard outline helps boil down information to its basic components.

For this method to work, your table and outline must have your own structure, words and work. Simply copying someone else’s table or outline will not help. Because we learn differently, it is ideal to take notes in terms you understand and can easily remember.

Study with friends

Spending time with friends can be entertaining, but it does not necessarily mean missing out on a study session. You can compare notes with each other, quiz each other and even explain a concept to a friend who does not understand it and vice versa. When you compare notes with other friends, it helps so that you do not miss any key information that may be on the test. Studying with friends is an effective way to study as it provides you with varying test-taking methods and a fresh insight on how to learn the content, even if you and your friends have different classes.

Listen to music

Music is a great stress-reliever and beneficial for students trying to study. However, the type of music you listen to while you study matters. You should listen to music that does not have any lyrics, such as classical music or original movie scores, as it can change your mood into a relaxed state and help you focus. According to Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford University, listening to music with lyrics can be problematic for reading and writing, as the intrusive words can distract you from your own.

Good luck studying Coyotes.