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Study Tips from a Psych Major

Spring break. One week of pure freedom from school, obligations, never ending to-do's... and the only thing standing between you and that one week of freedom is the doom of midterms. If you're a student (or have ever been a college student) you know what I am talking about. You walk around for a week with bags under your eyes, wayyy too many Starbucks cups to count, and handfuls of flashcards just so you can make it through to the sweet sweet freedom. So here's my effort to help you survive: Study tips from a Psych major!

First up: Break up your studying. You are more likely to remember something when you reiterate it in your mind over different periods of time, than sitting for 6 hours and studying the same subject. That means spend 1-2 hours on Statistics, 1-2 hours on World Literature, 1-2 hours on Science Methods, and make sure you take breaks in between. The other side of this: you cannot cram the day before. Try to start studying the week prior and that way you can study a little bit each day, reviewing and reiterating in your mind what each topic is. You'll notice a difference in how well you can recall information.

Secondly: Sleep. What? I know. Who has time to sleep? You do. Make time, because the funny thing is your body actually can help you remember things when you rest. Each night, your body goes through a sleep cycle and within this cycle, you go through a stage called Rapid Eye Movement, or REM sleep. This stage helps consolidate the information you learned, studied, and crammed in your brain so you can remember it better. Cool, right? So basically, all you "all-nighters" aren't helping yourself. Try to get a good night sleep and let that information marinate.

This one is for geniuses... just kidding! Organize your information. Everyone's brain works differently, so this looks different for everyone. I like to color coordinate each chapter in a book. For example, chapter one is in pink pen, chapter two is in green pen... (you get the gist!) When I can correspond a topic to a color, it's easier for me to remember it.

Match the circumstances. This one is tough, because there is nothing like a good study snack! But if you won't be eating trail mix during the test, don't be eating trail mix while you study! The same thing goes for listening to music, watching Netflix, even down to the place you study! Chances to recall information are higher when you try to match the environment in which you will take the test. If you will be taking your exam in your living room, feel free to study there, but if not, maybe you should find an empty classroom or go to the library!

Group Study! This one can be a positive and a negative for me, but if it works for you, go you! I think the benefit of group study is that you can test each other. Make some flash cards, utilize practice exams, compare and discuss answers. Maybe your group members will give you some new insight!

Okay, yes, some of these might be a "well duh!" tip, but I thought the same until I realized that I didn't ever apply any of these to my studying. I noticed a difference in my learning, and I hope you do too! Also, enjoy that spring break!

Simply, Sincerely,


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