Posted in Being an Online Student

Three Creative Ways to Study for Exams

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There are a lot of study tips for finals available on the Internet. Most suggest that students get plenty of rest, eat well and exercise, among other things. While it is extremely important to take care of yourself during finals, these tips don’t actually help with studying the material.

Committing principles learned in the classroom to memory for the exam always gave me anxiety. As an online student, you often don’t have the luxury or the time to sit down with a tutor or group of other students so you have to get a bit creative. The three study tips that I’ve listed below are tricks that I actually used in school to successfully pass my exams.

Link Concepts to Song Lyrics/Movie Quotes

I always joke with people that if I could remember math formulas as well as I can remember movie quotes and song lyrics, I’d be much better off in life. I decided to use this to my advantage. When facing a touch concept, I found that if I sang a song about it or changed a movie quote slightly to fit it, I was able to remember it much better. While my proctors often thought I was a bit crazy as I sang songs to myself and giggled (mostly silently), it was very effective for helping me remember the concepts.

Chew Gum

While some testing centers will not allow it, I always tried to chew gum both before and during an exam. In a study, researchers at St Lawrence University found that chewing gum helped students with recall and memory tasks for a short period of time. The act of chewing wakes the brain up and increases blood flow.

Many of my friends and colleagues also swear that you should always chew the same flavor of gum while you’re studying and while you’re taking the exam. The idea is that you may remember the flavor that you were chewing while you were studying. I always did this as well. Chewing gum won’t allow you to bypass studying for your exam, but it could help you remember some of the concepts.

Spaced Repetition

Spaced repetition is a powerful tool for remembering information. While many of us will study information over and over again with little to no breaks, especially when we are cramming for an exam, spaced repetition, or repeating information after short breaks in time, has been proven to be more a more effective way to remember.

This YouTube video by Thomas Frank helps illustrate how to use spaced repetition when studying. Mr. Frank recommends using flash cards to study. Instead of flash cards, I always created a study guide for myself in Word as I was reading chapters and reviewed them a few times per week. No matter how you prefer to study, spacing out your study time can help you remember what you studied and make you a much more successful student.

Do you have other creative ways to memorize information? What are your favorite study tips? List them below in the comments!



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