As I begin revising in preparation for exam season, I occasionally find myself wondering “Did we even learn this?” At the end of the second semester, September’s lecture material seems like a distant memory. To help combat this pre-finals amnesia, I’ve been using a variety of different study methods. Below are five ways I’m trying to study smarter this exam season.
- Group Studying
Forming a study group with peers is one of my favourite ways to prepare for exams. I find that setting up a review schedule with my others helps me to stay on track. When on my own, I can spend forever studying just one aspect of a course. Working with multiple people forces me to stick to be more productive by sticking to a schedule. My other favourite element of study groups is that working as a team helps everyone contribute to each others’ understanding. I find that explaining topics to my group helps me to recognize holes in my own knowledge.
If you’re planning on forming a study group this month, there are plenty of group study rooms available on campus! I’ve already booked a room for my study group because it is always busy at this time of the year! Luckily there are also rooms available on a first-come-first-served basis. Another study group perk is that you can earn CCR credit! While it is currently too late in the year to join the Recognized Study Group program for Arts & Science students, this is a great option to keep in mind for next year!
2) Ask for Help
Even after reviewing readings and notes, sometimes I find concepts remain unclear. Whenever this happens, I try not to hesitate to reach out to my TA. If it isn’t the night before the exam, TAs are almost always accommodating of requests for help! Another option is taking advantage of a professor’s office hours, especially when there are extended hours prior to the exam. While talking to professors always makes me a bit nervous, I know it is much more productive to ask for help from a professor or a TA than to send a message to five friends who also do not know the answer!
As assignments pile up with exams around the corner, it is hard not to feel overwhelmed. I try to take a break from studying to go for a walk or listen to music. For other stress relief methods, the Health & Wellness centre also offers resources to help cope with stress, such as their mindfulness meditation sessions–no experience is necessary. Hart House also offers programming every Wednesday for their Mindful Wednesday. You don’t need any meditation experience! The events are on a drop-in basis.
4) Don’t forget to sleep!
Getting sleep should be a self-evident element of healthy studying, but I still find myself struggling to get enough! I am always tempted to burn the midnight oil to check a few items off my to-do list. However, the amount I get done from staying up late at night never compensates for the hours of lost productivity feeling tired the next day. A great alternative to staying up late is getting up early and making a to-do list for what to get done in the morning.
Regardless of your program of study, some aspect of every course involves memorization. While understanding is often preferable to memorizing facts, sometimes memorization is the first step to understanding. A great way to make memorization more fun is to create a Kahoot set to play with your friends! While it may not be the most productive group study method, a little bit of memorization-based competition can make for a fun study break!
What methods will you be using to study for exams this season? Leave a comment below!