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17 Scientific Study Techniques to Ace an Exam
You have been turning over the pages of your course material for few hours now, the text is fast becoming blurred due to tiring eyes and your mind is asking for rest, but you still have one chapter to finish. This happens mostly when you are under pressure to conquer exam stress. We all like to get prepared before exam, but most of us are last-minute crammers. Even the most dedicated and skilled students find it difficult to learn how to study efficiently without exhausting the brain nerves. But there is a better way. In fact there are at least 17 scientifically proven ways to help you ace your exam. Integrate these study techniques in your test preparation routine to make the best out them.
You are in for a treat; learn, absorb and act according to your needs.
1. Give a Workout to your ‘sleepy’ Brain:
Do you know that during sleep your brain strengthens new memories? Yes, our brain works in a very weird way. So chances are that you will remember the information you read just before bedtime. But do not bring your work to bed because if you pull an all-nighter, you are actually depriving your brain from taking rest which is not ideal when you need the full strength of your memory.
2. Employ a Mnemonic Technique:
When you are studying a long list of facts, names, dates or places, no matter how many times you read them, you fail to memorize them. You need a game plan which can be a Mnemonic technique how to supercharge your memory. Take each letter of the names/places/facts and arrange them into a name that you can easily remember or a story that you relate to. For example, we all have been taught to remember the mathematical formula by the word BODMAS. As you know it is the initial letter of the operations (B – Bracket, O – Order of power, D – Division, M – Multiplication, A – Addition, S – Subtraction).
3. Move your Body:
Researchers confirm the fact that studying the same stuff at different places every day can make you less likely to forget information and facts you read. When you change your study corner from home to coffee shop, you are mainly forcing your brain to create new associations with the same material so that it becomes stronger in your memory. So rather than choosing one fixed study place, zero down on at least two to three where you can shuffle around.
4. Pop some Chewing Gum:
You may think chewing gum has nothing to do with studying. But surprisingly it has. Studies suggest how chewing gum helps you concentrate and focus more. A study conducted by a few researchers of Cardiff University stated that the participants in the experiment who chewed gum had quick reaction times and more accurate results than those who did not chew gums. This was especially the case towards the end of the task
5. Do various Jobs at Time:
No it is not multi-tasking; it is a technique that helps you to prepare yourself in a better manner. Let’s say you are solving a bunch of quadratic equations. Your brain adapts to the situation and approaches the problems in the same manner every time. But if you do linear equations in the intervals, you brain will have to think about the strategy that is best to solve the maths problems. That is how you strengthen your brain cells.
6. Give your Notes a Makeover:
To match the pace of your lecturers, you barely get time to write it down clearly. Sometimes, you only have time to note down important keywords of the lecture. When you return to your dorm or home, you are expected to recreate the notes in your own words when everything is fresh in your mind. Instead of writing black-white notes, sprinkle some color on your writing. Use some sticky notes, post-it-notes, colorful markers and picture to create visual effects. This is how you will remember the detail when it is exam time – so keep aside your laptop at times.
7. Read Aloud:
When done with making visual notes, take a break and see how it works for you. After a short break, come back to the notes and read it aloud. You may ask is this necessary? We say, Yes. It is extremely important because speaking and hearing things help us to make auditory links in our memory pathways. A psychological study (here is a sample on psychological study) was conducted on a group of people who were asked to read half of the list aloud and rest half silently. It was observed that people remember those things that they read aloud better than those they read silently. But simply reading out the whole textbook before the exam morning will do nothing good for you. The reason is reading without categorizing, asking questions or giving reasoning is completely futile. So when you read aloud, ask yourself questions.
8. Write it Out:
In case, you are not reading things loudly. You can write it out. Researchers also suggest that we store information for a longer time when we write it. According to a new study, Pam Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel Oppenheimer of UCLA Los Angeles proved the fact that students who wrote their notes by hand learned more than those who used laptops for taking notes. However, electronic notes have its own benefits as it can be deleted, reordered and formatted according to the use. What best you can do is when exams are just around the corner, start recopying the important notes of your semester.
Drinking, after all, is a good habit; no not that kind of drinking. Caffeine helps kick-start your brain. You better hit a local coffee shop to take sips of brewing coffee or something caffeine-filled (here is a sample on elements of building an attractive coffee shop). When it comes to matter of concentration, you should opt for frequent small coffee breaks. An interesting study was conducted on the not regular caffeine consumers who were asked to memorize a series of pictures. Afterwards, some of them were given a caffeine pill while the rest fake caffeine pill. After 24 hours, when the caffeine was totally out of their system, they were asked to identify which pictures in the set had been shown last day. It was seen that the participants with a caffeine pill performed better.
10. Create a Study Group:
Group studying does not work for everyone. But the ones who take benefits of it can create a study group. It’s a good option when you befriend some studious pals and they agree to help you. Meet them in every few days to review the material and discuss it. Put one person in charge of delegating the tasks (snack, music, goals and targets of the group).
11. Eat Low Fat, High Protein Diet:
A research conducted by University of Oxford confirmed the fact the students performed poor after being fed on high-fat, low-carbohydrate and protein diet for five days. You don’t want to do that. Take a proper amount of protein and include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Certain fish, nuts and olive oil has omega-3 fatty acids that help you to boost brain power. One study found that eating the combination of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids can reduce pre-test anxiety.
12. Put your Learned Skills to Test:
As much as we hate to say this, the best way to prepare is put yourself under exam pressure. In this way, you can re-learn and recall information. It is like a warm-up session before playing the real game. Let’s say you have completed a chapter of the course material. You should now create few questions that will test your learned knowledge. Set a timer to answer these questions. Choose a quiet place to take the test. While completing, leave the answers untouched. You can give it to your classmates or friends to check the answers or you can do it by yourself. Do not forget to grade it.
13. Repeat OM:
When your mind shuts you down, you have nothing to do but to stare at the blank piece of paper. You can try this technique. Rather than staring at the blank paper, shift your focus. Look at the nearby wall for a few moments and close your eyes, choose a spot where you can concentrate. And repeat OM word for several times while concentrating on a blind spot. Studies suggest that meditation is the key to reducing anxiety and boost attention span. There is no harm to invest few minutes to avoid pre-test jitters.
14. Exercise, Exercise and Exercise:
Stronger health denotes stronger intellect power. Researchers have highlighted the fact that healthy brain requires to have a healthy lifestyle as well: half an hour of aerobic exercise or jogging can improve thinking process speed and other cognitive skills. Besides, it is a great excuse to take much needed study breaks. Jog few laps around your block and hit the sports center of the campus.
15. Choose the Right Soundtrack and Dance it off:
Studies have highlighted the fact that unfamiliar noise can boost your productivity. We all know that listening to music always enhance your mood and help you concentrate on the tasks. Music works differently for everyone; you may like classical music to soothe but some may like hard rock music to refresh their brain cells. So choose a soundtrack for your biological notes and feel at least some stress slide away.
16. Close off all Distractions, Literally:
You are continuously checking notifications on Facebook and messages on Whatsapp. You expect good results after few hours of study. You should know that distractions like social sites cannot help when you have a giant exam coming in your way. Few apps help you to block internet for a short period of time. See how much more you can get done in this time compared to the time when you kept the internet on.
17. Actually Talk to the Teachers:
Remember they are the minds behind the exams. Pop into their office during working hours, armed with a one or two questions or maybe three. Just chatting with them and discussing the questions can give you deep insights into how you think. Try to know them; ask them how they grade the papers. Keep in mind that you cannot ask them directly, you have to trick them into answering the question.
Ready for the most important advice?
Relax! Don’t stress yourself too much. And most importantly don’t quit. Try to stick to your plans. We hope that these study tips will help you to enhance your study process. If you follow them correctly, you will do great in your exams.
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