Maintaining a balance between school, work, family, volunteering, and school organizations is difficult, but it’s not a solid excuse for not being able to stick to my original plan of submitting a post Monday-Friday. So, with midterms passing, I will be able to post a blog very day starting tomorrow (Wednesday) (the first day back from fall break). I apologize for getting off my schedule so early, but I needed to focus on my exams. But anyways…this post is devoted to study habits considering midterms have passed and/or are coming up. This is the time that students may be re-examining the amount of time they devote to studying. As such, I am only writing from personal experience and what I found to be helpful.
Eating well is seriously an excellent and easy way to perform better on exams. I’m talking about the major food groups: fruits, vegetables, protein, grain, etc. I’m NOT talking about double-stuffed oreos or a $5 pizza from Little Caesars even though as college students, we like to think they are each a food group. Those $5 pepperoni pizzas are delicious though….yum. I love making a bowl of fruit the morning of a test accompanied by either scrambled eggs/bacon or an egg (over-easy) served on toast.
Exercising for any period of time positively stimulates the brain, so getting out for even 15-30 minutes in the morning of or the night prior to a test, can boost self-esteem and confidence. I prefer going to the gym at night anywhere from twenty to ninety minutes. For those who don’t know of a good gym in the Manassas area, I have friends who go to Planet Fitness and pay $10 a month. It’s not a bad price for a college student’s budget and its EXCELLENT stress relief.
Getting enough sleep
Getting at least 8 hours of sleep is recommended by experts, but to be honest, I don’t remember the last time that I got that much sleep. On average, I receive about 6 hours of sleep a night and I think that is fair for a college student working a part-time job with other outside classroom responsibilities. If you’re a parent caring for a child/children in the household, 6 hours will seem like a lot but for the typical college student, striving for 8 hours of sleep a night is an adequate long-term goal.
Study in short bursts
Studying in short bursts as for in advance as possible is optimal for retaining information. Also, taking a break occasionally by, for example, doing yoga, going out for a walk, or if you’re like me, volunteering in your free time can keep the mine fresh. Passing tests and getting good grades are fine and dandy, but being able to use that information in the future is priceless.
Pick a good studying location
Picking a location that is relatively quiet and free of distractions is optimal for completing work efficiently. My two favorites are Panera and Ihop. The food at Panera can be expensive but they have two awesome things going for them: free wifi and free refills. Con: they close most days at 9 pm. With Ihop, they’re open 24 hours a day AND they give you a whole container of hot coffee for your convenience. This makes the caffeine addict in me very happy.
Plan a study schedule
Depending your preference, planning a study schedule may be beneficial. For example, I like to decide within reasonable expectations the material that I would like to understand each night prior to a test.
Prepare YOUR OWN study guide
Make a study guide for the test….it’s much more beneficial than receiving one from the teacher and copying the answers verbatim. I like take the main concepts from the study guide and make a separate study guide of information that I don’t already know. That way the material is condensed and made to fit my individual needs.
Now, these italicized points are what I thought to be the most important ideas to take from in my years of reading/listening to what professors found were most important to them. I wanted to compile a list because as a young man pursuing my interested field of study. I hope this list was informative. In the comments below, feel free to post additional study habits that proved effective for you!