We so often here tons of tips and tricks that are supposed to make you study better, and help you ace those finals. However, there are a lot of common mistakes students make that don’t get addressed. With exam season around the corner, we’ve listed the top 5 pitfalls you might be the victim of when studying. By become more aware of these mistakes, you can take action to correct them, and (in the words of our fave rapper Kanye) make you study harder, better faster and stronger!
One of the biggest issues students have is relying on memorization of facts or formulas, rather than actually understanding the information they’ve been given. This becomes a problem especially in “thinking” and “understanding” (lol maybe??) questions, since you’re less likely to be able to apply information to questions you haven’t seen before if you’re just memorizing. Use study strategies, like saying things aloud in your own words, to make sure you’re actually understanding the bigger concepts!
- Studying Chronologically
Although it might be tempting to want to study in the same order that you learned the material, it’s something to try and avoid doing. Focus on the most important information, and try and pick up on any hints your teacher might give on sections that are priority. Often, when students study in order, they don’t leave enough time to properly study the last units. Its also usually a safe bet that you’ll be tested heavily on the most recent information you’ve learned, so make sure to revise it thoroughly.
- Setting Overly Ambitious Study Goals
If you’re setting out to study for 8 hours in a day, it’ll be very difficult to accomplish. Even if you’re sitting down the entire time, your body and brain will usually feel drained after 4-5 hours of intensive studying. What’s more, if you’ve mentally blocked out such a long time period, you’ll probably use your hours much less efficiently and end up spending 40-50% of that time on FB or Instagram. Also, if you’re unrealistic with what you want to get done, you’ll probably feel unmotivated and upset when you don’t accomplish what you set out to.
- Sacrificing Sleep to Study
We generally see this with our older students, but make sure you aren’t staying up late the night before your exam. It’s super important to get a good night’s rest every night during exam periods, since good sleep is one of the most important tools for helping you retain information. Going to bed at your normal bedtime will also mean you aren’t cramming at the last minute- something you definitely want to avoid!
- Negative Thinking
This is something we talk about allllll the time. The absolute worst thing you can do when studying is to beat yourself up. Didn’t do so well on your last test? Don’t sweat it! Look at each evaluation or exam as a fresh start, and a new chance to prove to yourself that you’ve got this. Since you can’t control what the exam will cover, or its level of difficulty - focus on what you can control- your mentality! Take pauses and deep breathes if you start to feel flustered while studying, and just keep telling yourself “I can, and I will!”