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Lara Rosales

February 19, 2020

Have you ever felt like you were not able to study everything you had to before a test? Have you felt lost as to where to begin when facing a lecture’s material?

Throughout the semester, you deal with a lot of deadlines and exam dates. Sometimes you find yourself having to take multiple exams for different subjects on the same day and you fear you will not have enough time to prepare for all of them. Having tests can be one of the hardest things in college because they do not necessarily show how good you are doing or how much you are learning. There are times when you get too nervous or you do not have enough time to get ready and you end up failing a test; that does not mean you do not know what you are doing. It just means you need to figure out a way to study better.

When you get ready to study, what are a few things you do? You need to pay attention to the pattern you follow when you ace your tests and distinguish it from the one that led you to failure. In all honesty, it is not easy to stay focused for long periods of time when you have to study. As the minutes go by, you get more distracted and keep distancing yourself from the main topics. However, there are a few common things that you could do to keep the distraction at a minimum.

The spot you find to study has a lot to do with the process of studying. Are you the kind of person who needs silence around them to concentrate? Or do you actually need some noise? Is that noise coming from other people around you or just some music playing through your headphones? Figuring this out is very important for your success. Your environment will dictate how long you can stay focused for. Think back on all the times you have spent studying, and mimic the setting that prepared you for success. Once you have that, you will be one step closer to an A+.


You sit down –or stand up if that helps you study better– with all the readings or exercises from your lecture; but, what else do you need? Some people like to take notes and summarize what they are studying. If you are one of those, make sure you have a good notebook, enough pens, and a good amount of highlighters. Others record voice notes to play back for themselves; in this case make sure you speak loud and clear to understand afterwards. What matters is that by the time you are ready to study you will not need to move from that space. Getting up to look for other things will cause you to get distracted and lose track of what you were doing, the information you were processing. Once you start studying, do not abandon that mindset.

The Process Itself

Now, this is probably the most important part, how do you learn best? What tricks have you found out help you process the information and retain it in a beneficial way? There are students who just read the material once and they are ready to go. Others just pay attention in class once and they pass all their exams. You might have photographic memory and just by seeing something you will memorize it. For me –and maybe this helps you– what works is highlighting the most important parts, re-writing them in my own words, and re-reading those notes out loud. Just try to find a system that leads you to success.

Studying should not scare you. You should face the next exam with the confidence that you will definitely pass. The important thing is that you understand yourself and know what steps work for you. Once you have figured your studying habits out, you will be able to achieve any grade you want.

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