Get into the “Studying Mindset”
Keep It Real
Create Mnemonics: Mnemonics are devices that can help you memorize formulas, key concepts, definitions, etc. A really basic example of a mnemonic is “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally” which stands for parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction.
Make a Study Guide: Whether or not your instructor gives you a study guide for an exam, making a study guide is very helpful when studying for tests. Go through the textbook, notes, and any other material and write down any information that you think may be on the test such as important concepts, definitions, and formulas. Reading and writing the information will help you memorize it faster. If your Instructor gives you a study guide, make sure to cover all the points listed.
Make Flash Cards: Making flash cards can be a bit time consuming, but flash cards are helpful tools in remembering vocabulary, formulas, and key concepts. They are also easy to carry around with you so you can review them anytime.
Quiz Yourself: To ensure that you are prepared for your test, make a mock quiz to test how well you know the material. Write down a list of keywords or questions and make sure to leave room underneath each one. Then, pretend that you’re taking the test and write down as much as you can.
Set Time Goals: Setting time goals for yourself will help make sure that you stay on track especially when you have time constraints. You’re more likely to be productive if you have goals to achieve.
Remember to Take Breaks: Studying is hard stuff. You need to take short breaks to allow your brain to process and retain the information. Otherwise, you may confuse yourself or forget something you have already studied. Be sure to take only a short break, otherwise, it may be hard to go back to studying. When you begin studying again, review the material you have already studied, then, move on to something new.
Don't Study Alone: Studying with other people is always easier, because you are all there and you know nothing else is going on. If possible convince your college friends to meet at the library at a specific time on a regular basis. If you and your friends have different schedules, do your best to find time when at least two of you are able to meet. This will also help you and your friends develop good study skills, keep tabs on them, and make sure they will be with you on graduation day.
Study During the Week: For those college students who like to party, studying during the week is the way to go. Typically studying Monday through Thursday is the way to go. When it's not football season, Sunday could also be a good day, but never count on it. If you have time between or after classes while you are still on campus, realize that is the best time to pop into the resource center for a quick hour of studying. This will allow you to enjoy your nights without worrying about studying later. Having self-control and studying hard all week should allow students have the weekends free.
Schedule Time for Studying: College students who regularly have gaps in their class schedule should mark off those hours as study time. By making it part the routine, students should get into the habit after a few weeks, and not even think about it. The key is to start right away and try not to cheat. College students who do not have gaps in their schedule should plan for times before or after class, or schedule time at night.
Get lots of sleep: College Students who get a full night of sleep are usually more alert, more focused and learn things easier than those who are sleep deprived. Try to keep your sleep schedule as consistent as possible. On the weekends avoid sleeping in too late, because it will make it harder to wake up for your first class.
Avoid Studying on Coffee, Ritalin and Adderall: Since studying is no fun, students look for ways to enhance their ability to study and stay focused. Coffee has been used by college students to pull "all-nighters" or just to prevent falling asleep in an open book. If you choose to use coffee as a study aid, monitor your sleep patterns and how you feel throughout the day before making it a regular habit. Ritalin and Adderall are prescription drugs used to treat ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder). These drugs are hard to predict because they are made for students with ADD/ADHD. Students without either disorder are advised not to take these if not prescribed.
With each college class, a college student will receive a course outline. This outline is very important to your semester. Typically it lists what is expected of you for the class such as the attendance policy, dates of quizzes, tests, exams, and the instructor’s contact information.
Attendance Policy: The attendance policy varies based on the Instructor and the frequency the class meets. Typically more than 2 or 3 cut classes results in loosing grade points. The course syllabus should clearly state the Instructor's "cut policy."
Dates of papers, quizzes, tests and exams: The dates of when papers, tests, quizzes and exams may seem worthless at the beginning of the semester, but as it gets later in the semester it gets hard to keep track of what is due for what class at what time. The best thing to do is get day planner book, PDA, smart phone, or something with a calendar that you can keep with you at all times. This will help you manage your study time and stay on track. Learning you have a test that day when you show up for class is no fun, so don't let it happen.
The Instructors contact info: The Instructors contact information should be clearly displayed on their course syllabus. If not, be sure to stop the Instructor after class and ask them what way they prefer to be reached. Is very important so when you have a problem, or you can’t make a class you can get in touch with you Instructor before class. If you contact your Instructor before class, typically they will be more flexible. Office hours are important because they allow you to meet with the Instructor one on one which helps them get to know you and show them you care about the class. Don't forget you are going to need references when you start job hunting.
Arrive early. Make sure you know the location and time of your exam. Get there early to give yourself enough time to settle down before the exam starts.
Be awake for the test. Ideally, getting a good night’s rest is always encouraged before an exam; however, realistically, we all know that can’t always happen. Other options are to shower in the morning, chew gum, to have a caffeinated drink. Always be cautious when consuming caffeinated drinks, you don’t want to be jittery for the test.
Eat a small breakfast. You’ll want to minimize any possible distractions during the test. It’ll be more difficult to concentrate if you’re hungry. Don’t eat anything that may upset your stomach.
Bring extra writing utensils. You never know when your pencil’s going to break or run out of lead or your pen’s going to run out of ink.
Bring all essential test materials. There’s nothing worse than forgetting to bring a calculator or notes to an exam. Instructors usually won’t have extras or allow you to share with another classmate.
Go to the bathroom. Self-explanatory. This is another precaution to minimize distractions during the test.
Wear comfortable clothes. You’ll want to be comfortable taking the test. Popular choices are sweatpants and hoodies.
Bring any necessities. Bring a water bottle, tissues, cough drops, etc.
Look over your notes. Review important information again before the test to refresh your memory.
It’s just a test. Remember that you studied hard and have confidence in yourself.