Cramming for tests is always a bad idea. For one thing, it’s much harder to retain information this way. Worse, if you pull an all-nighter, you may even fall asleep while cramming, sleep through your alarm, and miss the test entirely. No matter if you’re prone to procrastination or you’re not sure how to prepare for tests other than cramming, there are ways you can improve.
1. Study Every Day
As soon as you know that you’ll be having the test and what it will cover, start preparing. It’s enough to dedicate just half an hour a day to studying — you’ll soon find the information starts to stick and you’ll stop struggling to remember the fine details. Just bear in mind that you’ll need to schedule time each day to ensure you actually do study.
2. Condense Your Notes
An effective way to solidify your knowledge is to rewrite your notes by condensing them down to just the main points. You can even rewrite each set of notes more than once, making them more condensed each time. If you have typed notes, make sure you write them out fresh each time rather than just making a copy of the document and deleting the extra information.
3. Pay Attention in Class
Your notes are no good if you failed to pay attention in class. If you have gaps, you’ll need to go and look up the missing information instead of preparing for your test. This will add to your workload and increase the risk you’ll need to cram the night before.
If you’re finding it hard to focus in class, remove any distractions. Instead of sitting at the back of the room next to a friend or looking at your phone every few minutes, move to the front of the room to be right in front of your professor.
4. Form a Study Group
The best study group is formed of people who want to do well on a test and will help each other understand the material. The worst people to have in a study group are often your best friends, as the study session can easily become another socializing event.
An alternative to forming a study group is to ask a TA or tutor to help you. The important thing is to study with someone who will push you and make sure you understand the material fully.
5. Experiment with Different Study Methods
It’s difficult to know which study methods work for you until you’ve tried them. Many students find it useful to prepare flashcards to test themselves on key concepts and facts. You could also draw a mind map, flow chart, or another type of diagram to summarize what you’ve learned or how key points are linked.
Having a comfortable place to study throughout the semester can make a world of difference. Dorm rooms are notoriously terrible for studying — it’s much better to live in Brock University off-campus housing. At Foundry Lofts, you’ll be able to study in your private bedroom or in our 3,600-square-foot WiFi-equipped lounge. Apply now to secure your suite.