5 Study Tips for Academic Success
This semester is going to look a little different, but that doesn’t mean that the studying stops. Whether you’re a Gr. 9 student studying for your first algebra quiz or you’re about to take the last exam of your post-secondary career this blog is for you. All of these tips work whether your classes are online, in-person, or a hybrid model. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have all the tools you need to make your study game strong and head into exam season like a pro.
1. Find a quiet space with minimal distractions
As someone who gets distracted easily, I suggest finding a quiet space with few distractions when you need to get a big chunk of studying done. A library is a great place (if it’s open), but it can be hard to find a good spot during exam season and can get a little noisy. Booking a breakout room on campus, going to a café with outdoor space, sitting at the kitchen table, or my desk are some of my favourite places to crack open a textbook. Try out a few different places and you’ll find your go-to brain station in no time.
2. The 45-minute block rule
My high school tutor taught me this rule and now I live by it. The 45-minute block rule is simple, you study with zero distractions (that means no phones) for 45 minutes and then take a 10-15-minute break. Keep going through this pattern until you’ve accomplished what you need. This rule is honestly my saviour, it may seem a little silly at first because why wouldn’t you just get all of your studying done at once? Breaking your studying up into chunks makes it feel like less work and can help you be more productive.
Breaks are necessary! If you are not in the right mindset to study, you’re not going to retain anything. If you find your antsy or distracted, set a 15-minute timer and make yourself a snack, talk to a friend, or spend 15 minutes on social media. I know we can all get lost in the land of Tik Tok, so make sure your break is only 15 minutes then back to the books!
3. Attend the review class
This one seems pretty straight forward, but I know tons of people who don’t think the review class is important, they would be wrong. This class is when your prof is going to give you all the insights on the most important things to review for your exam. Make sure to have done a little bit of studying before and prepare questions to ask if you’re confused about any big topics.
If your prof takes you through any practice questions pay attention and write them down! If they are taking the time to go over the question, it’s likely going to be on the exam.
4. Find/Make a study group
Whether it’s working at the kitchen table with your roommates or creating a more formal meeting day and time to zoom or meet with some classmates, studying with other people is a blessing in disguise. Chances are you understand something better than someone else and vice versa. You can help explain difficult topics to each other. Besides, my profs always tell me that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else.
5. Don’t just review the class slides
We have all been guilty of waiting until the last minute to study once or twice. Even if you’ve found yourself in this situation DO NOT just review the class slides. Most profs have different ways they highlight important information and a lot of the time that info doesn’t come from the slide decks. Take the first couple weeks of class to learn the ways your profs emphasize important information (ex. writing on the board, going through a practice question, including videos on specific topics, or starting a class discussion). I can almost guarantee that if they do any of the above things, that topic will be on your exam.
Take notes on what your prof says during class. Chances are they post their slide decks on your school’s education platform anyways, so don’t spend all of the class just copying down the slides. If you make detailed notes on what they take time explaining, you’ll be golden.
6. Sleep is your FRIEND!
Finally, if you think pulling an all-nighter is the only way you’ll pass your exam, think again. It probably works once in a blue moon, but in reality, you retain most of the information you learn while you're sleeping. Sleeping has been proven to improve memory and retention, so even if it's midnight and you haven’t covered all the topics in the syllabus yet, just go to bed! You might not know everything, but you will be solid on most topics and with luck, the few that you don’t know as well won’t even be on your exam.
Whether your classes are completely online, in person, or a hybrid model, these tips are sure to get you exam ready. Marks are important but they aren’t everything so remember to have fun too!