College

Foolproof Tips to Effectively Cram for Any Exam

Foolproof Tips to Effectively Cram for Any Exam

So somewhere during the semester you made some bad decisions. You procrastinated. Maybe you didn’t go to class enough. Or you partied too much. Whatever the reason, it’s almost time for an exam and you’re not ready. I’ve been there way too often in my 3 years of college. These are my foolproof cramming study tips to effectively help you pass every exam.

If you are not to the point where you have to cram then you should definitely check out my ultimate list of study tips and my list of library essentials for a long study session!

*Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way. All ideas and opinions are my own.

Cramming Study Tips

Effectively Cram and Pass Every Exam

1. Gather All of your Materials

Before you start studying you need to gather all of your relevant materials. Books, notes, lecture slides, past exams, tests, and quizzes, past assignments, online materials, and anything else with useful information.

Also grab yourself a pencil or pen, highlighters, extra paper, and flashcards if you use them.

If you use flashcards, I highly recommend looking into Quizlet for future semesters!

2. Find your Study Area

Now that you have all of your materials, determine where you are going to study at. Make sure the area if clean and free of any distractions. You don’t have time for anything else right now.

3. No unnecessary Electronics

If possible don’t use any electronics. They are a HUGE way to distract yourself and end up procrastinating. Again you don’t have time for that!

If you have to use your laptop try downloading the materials so you can shut your wi-fi off. If that isn’t an option then you can download a temporary site blocker. This way when you try to go on Facebook or email, you’ll be reminded that you DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT!

Also just put your phone somewhere far away from you. Turn it on silent. And don’t pick it up unless you absolutely need to.

4. Take Breaks

This is often overlooked because you have limited time and need to utilize every second of it. WRONG. You need to give your brain a break once in a while. Study for 30 minutes, take a 5 minute break or study for an hour and take a 10 minute break.

Your breaks should be short but frequent. This allows your brain to be able to better retain information.

5. Eat Healthy & Stay Hydrated

You should always do this, but it is especially important before a big exam. Plus it is also easily overlooked when you are cramming. Have salty and sweet snacks readily available to you and drink a lot of water. Eat a good meal the day of your exam as well. Your body needs to be well nourished in order for your brain to work hard.

6. SLEEP

Not sleeping in college is like a trend and every one feels the need to pull all nighters. Don’t do that. Get your sleep!

You will have such better memory if you sleep after you study. You probably don’t have time to get your full 8 hours, but I would shoot for at least 6.

Your body and your brain need their sleep and I promise it will help improve your memory and grade!

7. List of Importance

Before you start studying you should make a list of important terms, concepts, ideas, and key points. You need to know and understand all of the main points taught over the semester. After you get these down then move on to more detailed information.

Learning the main points first will ensure you time to get through them all. I can’t stress how important this is!

8. Make more Notes

After you know your main points, use that list to go more in-depth. Take notes on the things that are harder for you to understand completely. Make sure to visit these things again and focus on these over the simpler things.

9. Teach

They say that the best way to learn something is by teaching it to others. So make a friend or family member sit down while you teach them. Or since you’re short on time, just teach it to an imaginary person.

The point is to try to say it out loud and explain it in a way that someone would understand. This has been extremely helpful for me and is easily the BEST of my cramming study tips.

10. Relax and Dominate your Exam

The last of my cramming study tips is easier said than done, but is so important. At this point there is not any time left to prepare. Instead of worrying because you didn’t study enough, just relax.

You aren’t going to change how much you studied or didn’t study. The only thing you can do now is relax and take the exam the best you can.

Good Luck!

 

I’d love to hear what your foolproof cramming study tips are! Because let’s face it, we all need the extra help.

 

study tips for finals

Posted by Amanda in All Blog Posts, College, 0 comments
The 10 Key Essentials for Library Lock-down and Finals Week

The 10 Key Essentials for Library Lock-down and Finals Week

Finals season is among us once again. I don’t know about you guys, but I always feel under-prepared when it comes to time for finals. Personally I always end up spending multiple days for hours and hours at a time, in the library. To me, the library is the place where I can get the most productive amount of work done. To make my time in the library a little more bearable, I have made a list of the key library essentials for finals week and long study sessions.

If you study somewhere other than the library, these library essentials still may help your study session a ton! Also let me know what library essentials you need during your finals week study sessions!

If you need study hacks and tips, check out my ultimate list of study hacks to help you pass every exam!

*Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way. All ideas and opinions are my own.

The Top 10 Key Library Essentials Needed for Finals Week

1. Caffeine

Chances are you’re going to need a little pick me up during your study session. My go to is definitely coffee! However there are also caffeinated teas, sodas, and energy drinks. Another good option is taking a B12 vitamin supplement. These things are life changers in college and are a great way to get extra energy. Plus its the healthiest way to do so!

2. Water

I never go anywhere without my water bottle and it is one of the best habits I have ever developed. Keeping yourself hydrated is SO important! Bring a water bottle, trust me.

3. Snacks

Not just any snacks. You need to bring a variety of things so you have options. Trying to study and focus is near impossible when you are hungry. But you don’t want to have to get up mid study session to go get some food.

Bring salty and sweet snacks that are full of vitamins and minerals. Eating healthy snacks will give you a natural boost of energy. Where if you ate junk food, it is likely to make you tired and unmotivated.

4. Chargers

This one is self-explanatory and so important. It is easily one of the most forgotten things on this list of library essentials. One of the worst things that could happen is to have your laptop die in the middle of studying.

5. Headphones

This one is SO important for me. In order for me to “get into the zone,” I need to have music on and all of the other noises completely blocked out. Make yourself a studying playlist that has some of your favorite songs that aren’t too distracting. If you are easily distracted you might want to try listening to music that doesn’t have any lyrics.

6. Sweatshirt and/or blanket

Oh My Gosh. I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten a sweatshirt or blanket and my entire study session has been ruined! I am that person that is ALWAYS cold. If I am freezing and uncomfortable then there is NO WAY I will be productive and focused. So just bring one because you never know if you’ll need it.

7. Comfortable Shoes & Clothes

You’re going to the library to study, you’re not going to a fashion show or party. Just dress comfortable. That does NOT mean you have to look ugly. My comfortable outfits are some of my cutest! Get out your yoga pants, jeggings, or leggings. Get an oversized sweatshirt. Grab your comfy tennis and you’re ready to go. It might look like you are ready for the gym, but you’re cute and comfortable!

8. Notes/Books/Flashcards/Laptop (ONLY if needed)

I know what you’re saying… “obviously I’m going to bring my notes, books, and laptop.” Well I didn’t say that this was a list of things you didn’t already know to bring. It is clearly one of the key essentials of a study session, so hush.

Before you leave for the library or your study spot, stop and get organized. Make sure you know what you need to study and that you have ALL the materials you need. Also if you don’t need your laptop to study off of, don’t bring it!

9. Pencils, Highlighters, and Paper

Once again I know you already know to bring these things, but I had to include them because they are a library ESSENTIAL for a study session! Pencils and Highlighters to study and make notes about your notes. And don’t forget extra paper to write down extra important information.

10. Planner/To Do List

The last library essential I have for you all is your planner, to do list, or whatever you use to keep track of upcoming exams, papers, etc. If you don’t have a system, I recommend making a to do list. Even if it is a vague list, it helps a lot to have everything written down. Know what you need to study, how much time you should spend on each subject, and obviously when the exam or paper is due.

 

I hope these library essentials help you during your study sessions! Good luck on all of your exams, papers, etc.! && Please let me know what your library essentials are!

 

xoxo Manda Mae <3

 

Library Essentials for Finals Week

 

Posted by Amanda in All Blog Posts, College, 0 comments
The Ultimate List of Study Hacks you Need to Pass Every Exam

The Ultimate List of Study Hacks you Need to Pass Every Exam

It’s that time of year again… time to start studying for finals. I’m a junior in college this year and I’ve learned a lot of finals week study hacks and overall college study tips throughout the years.

I have piled together my best college study tips so that you can all learn from my mistakes! I hope these help and good luck on finals everyone!

You CAN do this!

*Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way. All ideas and opinions are my own.

The ULTIMATE list of College Study Tips

PERFECT for Finals

  • Relax

First thing first, just relax. This is NOT the end of the world and you can do this! It will be a lot of hard work, but it will be so worth it. Take a few deep breaths and lets begin.

  • Start Early to Avoid Cramming

This one seems obvious yet I am so terrible at it. In the beginning of the semester write down all of the exams and big projects you have. Plan ahead and give yourself more than enough time to be prepared.

  • Meet with Your Professors

For some reason it took me almost 2 years in college to figure this one out… even though people told me to do it all the time. I didn’t really understand how beneficial it was until I did it.

Before you go to visit them, write down certain topics or specific questions that you don’t fully understand. Most professors are so happy that you came to them for help… that is what they are there for.

  • Join a Study Group

This is something that should be done at the beginning of the semester to be most effective. However, often times study groups are formed just for midterms and finals. Talk to some students in your class and get together.

Share notes, ask questions, dig deeper into the material than you would alone. Different people see things differently so hearing their take away on certain topics can be really beneficial.

Plus it’s a nice motivation to have others studying for the same thing as you.

  • Teach a Pretend Audience

It has been proven that the best way to learn something is by teaching it to others. If you have a friend or family member that is willing to listen to you teach them then do that! However, if no one wants to listen to you explain why the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, then just teach a pretend audience.

Your roommates might think your crazy, but trust me when I say that it helps so much! I wish I would have learned this earlier.

  • Find a Good Place to Study

The perfect place to study can be different for everyone. Some people like the library, others like to find a nice place outside in nature, and some like to seclude themselves from any and all distractions.

Find what works for you and go there!

  • Switch up Your Location

Now that I had you find your perfect study spot, find another one or a couple more. Switching up where you are studying can be extremely refreshing. If you’re in one place for too long, your brain can just start going through the motions rather than absorbing all of the information.

  • Know Your Distractions & Avoid Them

Find out what most easily distracts you. For me it is social media, email, games on my phone, and pretty much anything that can make me procrastinate.

Now avoid them! For me I have to turn my phone completely off and put it away. I also try to avoid using my laptop as much as possible. Sometimes there are online materials I need. If possible I download them so that I can turn the WiFi off on my computer. Then when I involuntarily open up the internet to check facebook, I am reminded by the “no connection” that I NEED to study.

  • Have a Clean Area to Work

This goes hand in hand with avoiding distractions. The more things in your work area, the more likely you are to be distracted.

However, another reason to have a clean area to work is just peace of mind. Once in a while I study from home at my desk. If my desk or room is messy, it adds unnecessary stress. I feel much more productive when I clean before I study.

  • Take Breaks

This is SO important and I never used to do it, but it really does help you retain information better. Find a schedule that works best for you. Mine depends on the subject that I am studying. Somewhere between 45-60 minutes of studying with a 5-20 minute break.

During your breaks make sure you get everything you need (water, snacks, etc.), go to the bathroom, stretch your legs, and just relax. Personally I use this time for all of the previous things plus checking social media (so that it is less likely to distract me during study time).

  • Reward Yourself

You have been working so hard and you deserve a reward. Seriously set up a system where your hard work gets rewarded (in addition to a good grade on your exam). I normally reward myself with ONE Netflix show after I finish the designated time I set up for a subject. After the ONE show, I start studying the next subject.

Your reward should be something that allows your brain to relax for a bit. It also shouldn’t take up too much time because there is too much to get done.

  • Take Care of Yourself First

THIS.IS.SO.IMPORTANT.

Do NOT put your mental and physical health on the back burner just because you need to study. This happens way too often and actually makes it harder for you to retain the information you are studying.

Get PLENTY of sleep, get some exercise (even if it is light stretching), drink A LOT of water, and eat healthy! I like to have salty and sweet snacks easily accessible to me while I am studying. So head to your local store and pick up some healthy snacks for your study session.

One of the biggest and most common mistake students make is pulling an all nighter in order to get more studying done. This will hurt you more than it helps. Your body needs sleep in order for your short-term memory to work properly.

  • Make a Reasonable Study Schedule

This is also a huge one that I struggled with for a long time. I would always schedule WAY too much stuff to get done in a day. At the end of the day I would feel defeated and inadequate. It also made the next day extremely difficult to find the motivation I needed.

Plan out the things you want to study and when you want to study each thing. Scheduling less is better! If you accomplish everything on your schedule with more time left in your day then review material that you don’t feel as comfortable with or start on tomorrow’s schedule.

  • Don’t Focus on What you Know

Before you start studying, go through the material you need to know for your final or exam. Categorize things into what you completely understand, kind of understand, and don’t understand at all.

Review the things you completely know, but don’t spend too much time on it. Most of your time should be dedicated to the material that is the hardest for you to understand and remember.

  • Disconnect Before Bedtime

If you are using a laptop or anything else electronic to study, try to put it away at least an hour before you go to sleep. Study off your notes, books, flashcards, anything but electronics.

Even if you want to stop studying an hour before bed and read a book, listen to music or a podcast, or something else relaxing that doesn’t involve looking at a screen.

You’ll be able to fall asleep faster which means more sleep!

 

I hope these college study tips help you thrive during finals week and all exams! Please let me know what your ultimate college study tips are!

College Study Tips

 

Posted by Amanda in All Blog Posts, College, 6 comments

7 Tips to Know Before Applying for College

I was the first person in my immediate family to attend a 4 year university therefore I didn’t know what to expect. As I began the process I was really nervous that I wouldn’t have a good enough application. Looking back I remember how scary and stressful it could be at times. Learning from my experience, if I could redo it I would definitely do things a little different. Here are 7 tips I wish I knew before applying for college!

 

*Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way and all opinions are my own.

7 Tips to Know Before Applying for College

1. Map out your achievements from each year of high school!

First of all, I highly recommend that you write down your achievements as you go each year of high school. When applying for college, they want to know every little thing you were involved with and for how long. However, if you’re anything like me you waited until your junior or senior year to start keeping track. Now you need to sit down and think about each separate year and everything you did in those years. Every college application is going to ask for them so keep a running list.

2. Write down EVERYTHING

Along with tip number one, but is so important that it has its own big title. Write down absolutely everything you participated in and any awards you received during high school. No matter how small it seems, write it down! Clubs you were in, any extra circular activities, volunteering (how many hours), and anything else you did outside of class. Applying for college is time-consuming, but it is worth it to take your time. This affects your future!

3. Visit multiple college campuses

Before you begin applying for college, visit campuses and have a list of schools you are interested in. I made the mistake of only visiting 3 college campuses and only applying to two colleges. It turned out okay for me, but it was stressful while waiting to hear back. Be picky about your choices, but make sure you have many options! Applying for college does cost money so narrow down your options, but I recommend having around 5 possibilities.

4. Start early

Start everything early, start keeping track early, start looking at colleges early, start your applications early. Allow your self time for any set backs because there will be some. It will be less stressful if you know you have a lot of time to get back on track. In addition to that, applying for college is a long process anyways. You’ll need time to gather everything, write and edit your essays, and everything else in between.

5. Spend a lot of time on it

In addition to the previous tip, but so important it has to be its own! Starting early won’t matter if you procrastinate. Plan to dedicate a lot of time because applying for college is a HUGE decision. Take.Your.Time. Finish everything before the due date then don’t do anything with it for a few days. At this point, revisit everything you have done and make any necessary changes. Most noteworthy is DON’T MISS THE DEADLINE!

6. Get help with your essays!

This was one of the few smart things I did and I am so glad! Everything you do is important when applying for college, but the essays are extra important. These are what is going to make you stand out from everyone else applying. I had 3 different people look over my essays and had the best feedback/help from them. My 3 people were my English teacher, my history teacher, and my grandma who is an English professor. If you aren’t sure who to ask, go to your guidance counselor for help. They may even be willing to look over them too!

7. Scholarships!

Not everyone applies for scholarships, but I felt that it was important to add in here. Fill out scholarships similarly as to how you fill out an application for college. Take the essays seriously and write down everything if they ask for what you have been involved in. Also start these early on! You can even start as a high school freshman! Be aware of fake scholarships, but college is expensive and there are so many scholarships available to help!

 

I hope that these 7 tips will help some of you help! Leave your tips to applying to college in the comments below!

Posted by Amanda in All Blog Posts, College, 0 comments