Student Study Hacks for Conquering Exams

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Maintaining your coursework isn’t always easy, but getting good grades requires persistence and dedication. Don’t wait last minute to study for exams and jeopardize your chance at success. Tune up your high school study skills and go for the gold using these study hacks for conquering exams.

Go back in time, hand-write your notes during lectures.

In a world where laptops and smartphones allow students to seamlessly record lectures or type notes faster than writing them, it’s hard to go back to old-fashioned study hacks. But research proves hand-writing lecture notes is more effective and enhances student learning in comparison to typing notes. 

According to a Scientific American study, students that hand-write notes retain more information than those that turn to technology for note taking. Writing notes out by hand requires different types of cognitive processing. Students that hand-write notes are required to listen and break down information. Information is then condensed into words, phrases and short sentences that give them just enough detail to retain information.

Students who use technology such as smartphones or laptops don’t experience the same cognitive processing. Instead of breaking down information they’re presented with, students that type notes do so verbatim without summarizing the content presented to them.


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Join a study group to enhance your learning.

For some students, one of the best study hacks for conquering exams is simply joining a study group which can be extremely beneficial. A study group gives you people to bounce ideas off or turn to for filling in learning gaps. Maybe you missed some information during a lecture or need some clarification about a specific point, your study buddies are a great resource for expanding your own knowledge.

Being a part of a study group can also help you stay focused. Your peers can hold you accountable for procrastinating or getting distracted. Additionally, joining a study group is a great way to develop new study skills by learning from your peers.

Exercise to increase your memory.

It’s been proven that engaging in physical activity daily can improve your ability to retain information. According to study published in the journal, Current Biology, researchers found that exercising four hours after a task increases brain patterns that are associated with memory and improve an individual’s ability to retain information.

Not only does exercising help students enhance their memorization skills and retain information, but exercising before an exam can also help students score higher. In a study conducted by Dr. Chuck Hillman at the University of Illinois, students that exercised 20 minutes before an exam experienced a boost in memory and brain power.

Create flashcards for key concepts.

Rereading notes when studying can get boring. Instead, try skimming your notes, identify key concepts and create flashcards. Creating flashcards with key concepts is a great way to change up your study routine and helps enhance your learning. Rewriting important information on flashcards is also a great reinforcement skill to help you conquer midterms.

By condensing information into key concepts that fit on flashcards, students focus on important information instead of drowning in content. Flashcards are also a great way to study on-the-go. Students aren’t faced with the hassle of hauling around textbooks or binders of notes.

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Prioritize subjects and don’t cram.

Everyone has done it: procrastinated studying for a midterm or final exam and pulled an all-nighter before a big exam cramming as much information as you possibly could into your brain. Chances are, you didn’t retain an ounce of information and your body was deprived of the precious sleep it so deserves.

According to researchers at UCLA, students who sacrifice sleeping for studying are actually counterproductive and hinder their ability to perform well. UCLA professor and psychiatry, Andrew J. Fuligni noted that an adequate amount of sleep is crucial for students’ academic success. Fuligni adds that students that maintain a consistent study schedule learn best opposed to those with sporadic habits.

A good way to maintain a consistent study schedule is by developing study hacks for conquering exams. Start by prioritizing subjects based on difficulty. Focus on harder classes first and take breaks between study sessions to improve focus and memorization.

Looking for ways to maximize your success this semester beyond study hacks? We’ve got you covered! Check out these productive habits you should adapt right now to increase your productivity and get the most out of your semester.