May 8, 2012

Exams are Hard in Any Country: Effective Study Tips

College is a fun and exciting time. Your life is opened up to so many new experiences and new opportunities that the possibilities seem (and really are) endless. Students can learn about topics they never imagined studying, forge relationships with people they would have never encountered in any other environment, and even take their academic pursuit abroad for a period of time. These educational and personal pursuits are worthwhile in so many different ways for a young and passionate individual. While college is a time full of opportunity and growth, it is also a time of seemingly endless stress and exhaustion. With late night study sessions, intensely hard classes, and ever impending deadlines, when you're in the thick of it nothing seems more difficult than college. We can all admit, there are few things more daunting to a college student than final exams (besides maybe an 8 am class). In many ways, it seems that we as college students put the weight of an entire semester into one hour long exam. This is bound to be overwhelmingly stressful. While college exams are always going to be a drag, there are several strategies you can use in the dorms, at home, or abroad to study more effectively.

Think about Surroundings 
Your physical environment is one of the most important factors in staying focused and engaged. I would argue that your surroundings are the single most important aspect of studying in college. All too often, college student place themselves in the most distracting and disruptive environment and try to cram for their "life-ending" exam. Your optimal study environment is very much a product of personal preference. Some people work better with some sound in the background, while others need complete silence in order to be fully focused. Consider what surroundings encourage you to work best. No matter what, you're going to want to find a space that is distraction less and comfortable. Working in your dorm room (if you live in the dorms) or in your room abroad can be a very bad choice. Because these are the spaces that we sleep and relax in, they may not encourage a studious state of mind. In order to really use your time effective and efficiently find a space that you know will work for you. 

Be Motivated
Alright, so you're probably never going to really really want to study for that upcoming exam. Studying is typically a drag. Particularly when you are studying abroad, there are just so many other things you'd rather be doing. But, of course, there comes a time that studying is a must. However, you shouldn't try to force yourself to study for a test when you know you are too tired or too distracted to focus. You want to be motivated to get your studying done. If you are particularly sleepy, all the information you are studying will likely go in one ear and out the other. Studying relies heavily on your state of mind. Try resting for an hour or two before you try to study for a long period of time. This will help you get the most out of your study session and help you waste less time during the study process. 

Plan Things Out
One of the most difficult aspects of final exam time is that you are taking a test in every class you have. Sure, one exam is tough, but having five all in the same week can be excruciating. It's in situations like this that planning out your studying is a good idea. Students should try to create an agenda for their studying so that they can find a way to fit everything they need to in to the time given. Plan out what days and times you are going to dedicate to specific subjects. Within those time slots take a look at the actual material you are hoping to cover. Make sure that you are planning out something that is reasonable and achievable. By planning out your time and setting up a study agenda, you give yourself an idea of progress and accomplishment. This can help busy students feel less overwhelmed by the daunting task. You will know that if you stick with your plan, you will cover everything that you need to cover.  

Author Bio:
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online colleges, online degrees etc. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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