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Exam study tips

By Catalina Duran Ballen | February 28, 2023

As a senior, I’ve had to learn study habits during my academic career. Maybe some of what works for me will work for you also.

Study habits are personal and what works for you might not work for others, so it is important to understand what works well for your own learning needs.

We are all creatures of habit. It is important to get to know yourself and find out what works for you. However, it is of utmost importance to get enough sleep, so make sure that is one of your priorities.

Know your priorities and write down your goals to help you visualize where you are headed. Creating a personal routine is a great way to have discipline and consistency which are needed to thrive and succeed.

Get a planner! It doesn’t matter if it is a physical one with a pretty cover or you use the one linked to your email and have the app on your phone, just make sure you are using and updating it to get the most out of your day!

Build study patterns such as color-coding classes or notes. Discover your favorite study spot. Change study spots so that you don’t get overwhelmed, and you learn to adapt to all environments and don’t depend on any one spot to be productive. Take as many breaks as you need and always have water with you.

Change up study patterns. Studying with friends is important, but if it doesn’t work for you it is ok to tell them you need to go study by yourself. To some people, what works best is teaching it to others in small groups. To others, it is more helpful to go to study sessions.

Make sure you are reaching out for help when needed such as scheduling a session with a tutor and communicating with your professors. Take advantage of the office hours your professors offer because they can make a huge difference when you ask them for letters of recommendation later on. This goes hand-in-hand with staying in touch and creating a relationship with your academic advisor. Get to know each other and talk about your goals and aspirations.

Planning ahead for exams and projects and knowing what the week ahead of you holds is a great way to get in the mind-set to start the weekend as productively as possible.

Reviewing notes you have already taken is another way to make sure you are retaining all the information you need. Remember to study smarter and not harder. Everything your professors go over in class is material you must understand for tests.

Never cram! Cramming does not work for most people, unless you have a photographic memory. Just sleep and learn to leave more time next test. Identifying your weaknesses is a great way to learn what you need to devote extra time to and schedule more review sessions between exams.

Make sure you are creating a healthy balance where you take care of your body and mind! Here is a list to consider:
·     make room for physical activity
·     eat nutritious meals
·     meditate
·     read for fun
·     watch a show
·     go out with friends
·     call home
·     reflect on what is working and what you need to modify
·     check out your goals and reassess
·     have some downtime to make sure you are destressing healthily and not getting burned out
·     treat yourself with a reward for the small victories


Catalina Duran Ballen is a junior communication studies major at Charleston Southern University. She was a 2022 summer intern in the Marketing & Communication office.


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