Exam week is probably one of the most stressful times for students. Most students know that cramming isn’t the ideal way to study, but even the best students fall into this trap.
Whether you’re making up for lost time, reviewing for a test to qualify for a scholarship, or simply trying to process everything you’ve learned in the past semester, here are some smart studying tips that can help maximize your cramming sessions and keep you sane.
1) Try Nootropics
If you want to cram successfully for your exams, consider nootropics, also known as smart drugs or brain supplements.
Nootropics are natural or synthetic substances that can help improve mental performance. They’re generally prescribed to treat medical conditions such as dementia and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
However, people without these conditions, such as regular students, may take over-the-counter (OTC) nootropics to boost their brain function, increasing focus, memory, intelligence, and creativity. Considering these benefits, you might want to check out this list of the best nootropics you can try when cramming for exams.
When used correctly, nootropics help improve focus, accuracy, mood, attention, memory, and energy, and they can also support long-term brain function and overall health.
2) Plan, Plan, Plan
Don’t just take out all your notes and aimlessly review any topic. You need to plan your attack at the start of your study session. Determine your priorities and what you need to accomplish.
How much time do you have, and how will you divide it among the subjects you need to review? What do you need to study? Are you having a hard time on one subject? You need to prioritize that over other easier subject areas. It’s helpful to create a list of topics to review and assign how much time you need. Make sure to place the topics you’re having the most trouble with at the top of your list and set a longer study period.
Where and how do you study best? You need to choose someplace you can get your studying done without distractions, whether it’s your room, a library, or a quiet café. You also need to watch out for nesting, which refers to spending hours just to re-organize your study area. You don’t need a lot to study—your desk, notes, and some peace and quiet are enough.
Taking a few minutes to devise a study plan can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. It also ensures you won’t overlook an important topic.
3) Use Interleaving
If you’ve got a lot of information you need to memorize, you probably think repeating the same topic over and over again can help. While repetition can aid memory, you need to know it’s ineffective in the long run. In general, people learn better when they space out their study repetitions over time instead of going at it until they memorize the whole thing.
In addition, you need to stop focusing on one thing. You need to mix it up and drill yourself on different concepts. This is called interleaving. It means you do your study repetitions randomly.
For instance, you first review math, move to science, then go back to math, on to history, then back to science.
Interleaving helps you learn better. If you study a concept repeatedly, your focus and attention will drop. Without a pattern, your brain starts working and has to guess what comes next, ensuring high concentration and focus.
4) Apply The Chunking Technique
The chunking technique means breaking down major components of a subject you’re studying. You group those components that make the most sense to you to ensure clearer comprehension of key ideas.
You can take a look at the chapter headings in your book and take note of the important ideas and terms in each chapter. It’s also helpful to draw a diagram or use flashcards to list key concepts, topics, and terminologies.
5) Don’t Forget To Sleep
It may seem like you don’t have much time to review and process all the information you need for your exam. However, enough rest is essential. Sacrificing a few hours of sleep for extra cramming sessions is actually counterproductive.
Sleep deprivation can hamper your brain from performing complex cognitive tasks. So, even if it means less time reviewing your notes, you must sleep well the night before your exam.
Curling up in your bed and surrendering to your worries may seem like a good option when exams are just a few hours away, but it really isn’t.
So, calm down and take deep breaths. Being overwhelmed won’t help you. Instead, follow the above tips to plan your attack and start stacking all those information into your brain.