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1. NEVER Study Right Before Class

As college students, we have all experienced that last minute cram session before the big exam. But actually, cramming sessions won’t really help with anything. The best thing to do is simply space out your studying so you finalize preparation before test day. Sometimes our hard-working brains need rest too!

2. . Setting Up a Schedule

Ever had to study and have had no clue where to start? It’s a good idea to use a calendar or reminders on your phone to help you plan out when you are going to study and for how long. As college students, we have lots of other activities on our plates and it’s important to stay organized and plan accordingly.

3. Study Breaks Are Brain Breaks

Yeah I know. Big test coming up and you don’t want to stop to even think about anything else. Well, you should. Every hour its a good idea to take a 10-15min “brain break” to avoid headaches and/or stress. Grab a snack and some water, but stay motivated!

4. Form Study Groups…It’s More Helpful Than You May Think

Get to know the people in your classes. Making friends on the first few days of the first week is super important in establishing a small group of people you can go to with questions or to set up study sessions. Take turns quizzing each other and discussing exam topics to make studying more effective and interesting.

5. Color Code Your Notes

Sometimes our brains get too caught up in chunky paragraphs and never ending sentences. Luckily, a solution to this is to color code certain sections of your notes that stand out or are very important and need to be remembered. Keep highlighters around when you study to make this process faster. You can even use a key to categorize different topics by color.

6. Draw a Chart (For Us Visual Learners)

Sometimes it’s hard to connect your thoughts, especially for subjects such as history. Drawing bubble charts and venn diagrams can help organize subtopics and show their relationships in a more understandable manner.

7. Music Is Important

It’s always a good idea to listen to music when you study. However, having headphones or earbuds can confuse you as you study, so its best to have your music playing from a speaker at a low volume as background noise. I also recommend listening to music without lyrics so your head isn’t trying to juggle singing along with retaining info. I know, its hard to avoid.

8. Keep Study Sessions Short and Sweet

The shorter your study sessions, the more effective. Avoid distractions and focus for a few hours then come back to your work the following day or hours later. Studying for one subject too long can stress you out, but small doses of work are a more relaxed and effective way to accomplish your goal…an A+ on that midterm.

9. Chewing Gum: One of the Smartest and Simplest Studying Tools 

Chew gum while you study and on your exams! A component of the minty flavor causes your brain to focus more and having something to keep your mouth busy avoids other distractions like playing with your pencil.

10. Last and Most Importantly, HAVE FUN!

It’s college! Studying can be fun and beneficial if done right. Have fun and plan your studying out so you maintain a balanced life as a student.


Mina Vazirian

Hey y'all I'm Mina, a current first-year student at the University of California Riverside! I was a Media and Cultural Studies major, but I have switched over to Theatre, Film, and Digital Production to pursue a career as a film producer.

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