Tip #1: Schedule your studying
First of all, you want to find out when your test is and put it on your calendar. You want to know exactly when your examination is going to take place. Then, you could work backwards and figure out how much time you have to study. You can then decide exactly how long you want to study. Make an informed decision about how much time you’re going to spend on it. As soon as you decide, mark this study time on your calendar. Go through your calendar again and put in exactly how much you’re going to study day by day.
Check out: 13 Effective Study Tips (Video)
Tip #2: Don’t cram
Cramming could be really tempting, but it never really pays off. You learn a lot less in a short period and you remember a lot less in the long term. Pulling an all-nighter doesn’t really work either, because there is something called the curve of forgetting. It is a visual representation of how your brain stores memories. Up at the top of the curve is how much you remember right after you learn something, which is a lot, but the curve goes steeply downwards if you don’t review that information.
Tip #3: Make a cheat sheet
A cheat sheet is a small list of the most important facts that you’re trying to retain. For example, big vocabulary, big formulas, concepts, and so on. Write them down and memorize them. This will help you identify the most vital information that you need to study. Another bonus is that if you have a more visual memory, sometimes seeing it on paper can help you remember it better.
Tip #4: Spend time on the hard material
It could be really difficult, because it’s hard and scary. However, don’t ignore the material that you’re stumped by. You should tackle that difficult material, because if you don’t understand it now, you won’t understand it on the exam date either.
Tip #5: Figure out the best study setting for you
Everybody is different. Some people thrive at the library, others like to be at home. Take your time to find out what exactly works for you. Also think about what level of noise helps you.
Tip #6: Find a study buddy
This has a lot of benefits. If you two are studying the same thing, then you can help each other or teach each other new material, because teaching is a great way to learn something better yourself. Even if you’re not studying the same thing, study buddies are a great tool for accountability.
Tip #7: Be present and actually study
This is not the same as saying “I’m studying.” and then kind of messing around on Facebook, coming back to your studies a little bit, daydreaming… None of those things are actually focused study. Focused study is what you need to actually learn. So, how do you do that? One way is to put your devices on “do not disturb” mode or just turn them off. Using the Pomodoro technique is another great way to focus on your study.
Check out: Studying in the Age of Digital Distraction
Tip #8: Paper is powerful
Technology is amazing, but sometimes just plain old paper tends to work better for studying. You could read something on a screen 10 times, but if you just write it down you are far more likely to retain that information. There are a lot of scientific studies to back this up.
All these things will make you learn better and they can be fun and creative.