Browsing Tag:

studying

In Academics on
March 28, 2018

How To Study When You Are Short On Time

Let’s face it; we have all studied last minute before.

It sucks when the clock is running down, but you still have a ton of pages to read, study, and digest.

Today’s article will help you study when you are short on time so you can get focused, get to work, and stop yourself from crying over your textbooks.

Related Reading: How To Study When You Feel Unmotivated; What To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed In College (Guest Post On Chase The Write Dream)

How To Study When You Are Short On Time | Studying when you are short on time can be difficult, but it's not impossible. Click through as I share 10 things that will help you study when you need to cram or quickly intake information.

Keep Reading, Darling

In Academics on
November 8, 2017

12 Study Techniques For College Students

Studying in college can be difficult. The reason that I found studying so difficult sometimes was because I was too caught up in what my classmates were doing, and I put too much weight in that. Everyone studies differently and it’s all about finding a study method that works best for you. Today I am going to share tons of study techniques and tricks, but it’s up to you to find which techniques work best for you and executing them.

 12 Study Techniques For College Students | Studying is an important aspect of college, but which technique works best for you? Click through for my list of a dozen study strategies that you could potentially implement in your studying routine.

1. Create A Study Guide

So many college students only think of creating a study guide when their professor gives them one to fill out, but you can create study guides yourself. A while ago the lovely Amelie from A Wanderer’s Adventures shared her advice on this blog about how to create a college study guide. I love her method, and it continues to help people every day. Creating your own study guide is a great way to learn and review material for class while you are studying for a test or assignment.

This Works Best If: You have somewhat of a knowledge of what your professor’s tests will look like and you want to dig through the test material. Also, if you didn’t procrastinate and have more time on your hands to study,

2. Use FlashCards

If you have a particularly vocabulary heavy major, I encourage you to try flashcards. These never really worked for me unless I was taking foreign language or history classes. I was a sociology major so I didn’t find flashcards particularly helpful for keeping up with things I was learning. These can be very helpful in any general education course or in science heavy courses where memorization is key. I really love this post on Oh Hey Hannah’s site all about how to study flashcards. This post is very helpful in making sure that you are studying flashcards in a helpful way.

This Works Best If: You have a major with a ton of vocab, dates, etc. Works especially well in intro classes.

3. Teach Your Friends

If you can teach material, chances are you know the material well. By teaching your friends about the subjects you are learning, you can go over the material and really take it to heart. So gather some friends and teach them a subject you are studying for, answer their questions, and just talk through concepts you are learning. I feel this technique works even if you don’t have a concrete thing like math. Even the most liberal arts concepts can be taught and help you learn.

This Works Best If: You like to talk things out or you are an education major. Also, if you have a large pool of friends or lots of friends in your major so you aren’t constantly teaching the same people/your friends are also getting something out of being taught.

4. Get Your Friends To Quiz You

Another way to get your friends involved is by giving them your flashcards or study guide and asking them to ask you questions from the pile. This may work best if your friend is in the same major that you are in, but if your flashcards and study guide are filled out nicely, it won’t matter much. Getting quizzed is helpful because it puts you on the spot and helps you work through all of the issues you are working on.

This Works Best If: You have a great set of notes, study guide, or flash cards OR your friend is also studying your major. A friend who is quizzing you on the wrong stuff won’t be helpful for you when you take your test.

5. Rewrite Your Notes

When we write our notes they are often sloppy and not super helpful.. When you re-write your notes you are taken back to writing them and you are able to write them in a much more coherent way and you may even remember some details you left out in the beginning. It’s a great way to make your notes easier to read and understand. You could type your rewritten notes, but I think that there is something positive that happens when you hand write them, plus you are much less likely to be distracted by tabs on your computer.

This Works Best If: Your notes are very sloppy (me!) and rewriting them will help you seal them in more. Also if you learn by writing or reading.

6. Read Your Notes Aloud

If you are an auditory learner like I am, another study technique you can use is simply reading your notes aloud. I used this method all the time and it helped me understand my notes and commit them to memory which helped me when it came time to take a test.

This Works Best If: You are an auditory learner and you have written great and helpful notes.

7. Re-Listen To Course Lectures

This is another technique for auditory learners out there. If you have permission, record your lectures on a recorder such as your phone. Then on your own time, re-listen to those lectures. This is a great idea for anyone who has a hard time keeping up in class or just needs to listen to a lecture or two again for clarification. Make sure that you categorize your lectures well when you are storing them. They should always have a descriptive title that includes things like the date and course name.

This Works Best If: You are an auditory learner and your professors lectures aren’t boring af.

8. Watch Videos About Course Subjects

There are SO many great YouTube channels out there that can help you by providing some great information about course subjects. One of my personal favorites is the Crash Course channel. They cover tons of topics on that channel and are always adding more. There are other options, though, which you can usually find by just searching for your course topic on YouTube to find videos about it.

 This Works Best If: You are a visual learner and you can find videos that closely relate to the subject at hand at the right grade level.

9. Take Practice Tests

This isn’t always an option but some professors have past tests that they have made about  topic, especially if they have been using the same course materials for a while. You can also create a practice test for the content by using the questions provided throughout your course textbook as well as any quizzes you have taken in the past. Some professors don’t go out of their way to create test questions and just use questions from the textbook company or use past quiz questions which is helpful for you. Some textbook companies even provide practice tests online if the book has an internet study area. In math classes it can be very easy to create practice tests which will help you work everything out before your test.

This Works Best If: Your professors actually depend on the book a lot for course material. If they do, chances are they will depend on the book for the test. Also if you have a major like math where you know what you will be tested over, it will just feature different numbers.

10. Create Diagrams & Mind Maps

If you are in a STEM course chances are you have used a diagram to study because they can be extremely useful for things like remembering the periodic table or remembering parts of a brain. Mind maps are also beneficial for those learning a topic or organizing your thoughts around a topic. I love this post from Mind Meister that showcases all the ways that you may use a mind map as a student. Quizlet actually recently released a diagrams feature which will be really helpful for anyone wanting to use diagrams to study. They also, not surprisingly, already have a ton of diagrams up for you to use while studying.

Creating diagrams like timelines may also be useful for liberal arts majors (specifically history majors) so you can place events in your discipline or in history as a whole on a timeline.

This Works Best If: You are a visual learner or you need to label a lot of things on tests for your major. People in anatomy or other science related majors, rejoice!

11. Create songs & Stories

Anything you can create that will help you trigger memories and thought processes while you are studying will be a helpful study technique. I loved to create stories about what I was learning while in college but songs can also be helpful.. At the most basic level creating a mnemonic device can also help you trigger memories during a test. If you are interested in how to create mnemonic devices, check out this post from Oxford Learning.

This Works Best If: You are an auditory/visual learner and you need a creative away to learn things.

12. Get A Tutor

Last, but certainly not least, get a tutor. Chances are your university has a tutoring program already in place and chances are it’s free or close to free. Go make an appointment for that service and learn from someone new if you just aren’t learning adequately with your professors help or your own help. It’s always great to seek out extra help if it’s needed.

 This Works Best If: Your professors words just aren’t cutting the mustard and you need extra help to understand course material.

Conclusion

Today I shared twelve study techniques that you can use. Obviously do not use every single one, that wouldn’t make sense. Try out different techniques that you think would be beneficial for you. At the end of the day, that’s all you can hope for. Your goal should never be to chase what everyone else is doing, but instead it should be to focus on what could benefit you and help you study more effectively.

In Academics, college on
September 20, 2017

How To Study When You Feel Unmotivated

We all have those days.

The days when we stare at our planner and we can’t seem to do one thing.

The time when we are staring at a blank cursor in a Word document for hours.

The icky feeling of looming responsibility breathing down our backs.

Yeah, that’s no fun.

Today on the blog, I am going to share some tips on how to study when you feel unmotivated so that you can push through procrastination and get shit done.

How To Study When You Feel Unmotivated | It's often difficult to study when you don't feel into it. Today on the blog, I am sharing 10 tips for studying when you don't feel motivated so that you can get stuff done even on those bad days.

Keep Reading, Darling

In Academics on
April 20, 2017

How To Manage Time During Finals Week

Managing your time and studying effectively during finals week is so important. Often finals are worth a big chunk of your grade and it’s now or never to showcase that you know what you are doing. This post is meant to help guide you through the time management process during the last few weeks of college to make sure that you are giving tests the adequate amount of time in the weeks leading up to finals week. I hope that you find this post helpful as you begin to go on this finals week journey whether this is your first finals week or your last.

 How To Manage Time During Finals Week | During finals week time management is essential to being your best self. Click through to read all my tips for managing your schedule, prioritizing your studying so that you can study for multiple tests, and other time and life saving hacks for finals week.

1. Figure Out Your Actual Finals Schedule

If you want to manage your time during finals week the first thing you need to do RIGHT NOW is check out your finals week schedule. Where are you supposed to be and when? Confirm this with your professors if you need to. Then map it out on a sheet of paper day by day, hour by hour. Once you have that information set in stone it can really help you plan the next step in the time management process.

See If Your School Has Rules For How Many Tests You Can Have A Day During Finals Week

Many schools have a limit of how many tests you can have during a single day or how many tests you can have during a 24 hour period but many students don’t take advantage of this awesome opportunity to reschedule their exams. IF your school has a policy like this it seems that most schools don’t want you to have three or more exams in one day which is entire possible depending on when your classes are as sometimes it feels that finals week schedules are so radically different from class schedules.

It is important that you figure out your schedule as soon as possible because some schools make you request this rescheduling in advance, which I can understand because often teachers will have to rearrange their entire schedule in order to make this happen if they don’t teach multiple sections of the class you are taking. If you must reschedule it’s probably a good idea to reach out early just out of common courtesy.

Many students don’t reschedule because they just want to get finals over with as soon as possible, but be sure that your grades are ready to wing it if you do.

2. Tally Your grades & Figure Out Where Your Focus Needs To Be

After you figure out your schedule, you need to figure out where your priorities lay. A number of factors go into this decision and while they are mostly grade based, there are other factors as well:

What is your grade in the class?

First and foremost, base it around your grade in the class. If you have a 100 in a class, how much can (or can’t) this knock your grade down. Sometimes you are blessed because your grade will be an A even if you get an F on the test. Those classes are always the best, and in order to understand that you need to calculate your grade. This grade calculator on Ben Eggleston’s website has literally saved my life when I have a class who doesn’t have a simple grading scheme. If your professor’s grades are based on percentages this calculator will seriously be your best friend.

  • Can you climb, drastically fall, or are you stuck in place? Further elaborating on the point I made earlier, you need to understand something–sometimes your grade is pretty locked in place. Often you may be stuck to get a B unless by chance you make a 117% on the final. If this is the case, figure out the lowest you can make to maintain your B and try to shoot above that score. On the other hand, sometimes it is SO easy to fall into a C or below unless you get a certain grade on a test.
    • These may seem like similar stories, but think of a person who has an 86 B versus a person who has an 80 B. One person is a little more secure in the fact that messing up a little on the exam will not hurt them, and one is pulling what my Chemistry teacher in high school used to say is a “Barely B.”
    • These two students will study drastically different because of how comfortable they are in the skin of being a B student. The first one has had a mixture of As and Bs and feels more confident in their ability to maintain while the second student has probably had some good Bs but also some Cs and they are so close to the edge.
      • The same can be said of a person with a 90 A versus a 96 A. The first student has had some As but also quite a few Bs, whereas the second one probably had almost exclusively different variations of an A. The student with a 96 will feel more confident because they have had more practice getting As than the student with a 90.
    • All of this to say, think about how comfortable you are in your ability to maintain or go to the next level with your score. Also think about the weight of falling if that is a possibility. Then factor that into where you focus when studying.

Is the final cumulative?

Second, is the test cumulative? Cumulative tests are always going to be more difficult than regular tests as you need to spend time relearning some concepts  from months ago in some cases. Cumulative tests tend to happen when the material builds on each other (think math and science related tests) but honestly cumulative tests can happen anytime anywhere.

If the test is cumulative that doesn’t mean you have to start freaking out just yet, but it does mean you may have to prioritize the test if you don’t remember a lot of the earlier material. You need time to fully immerse yourself to properly study for a cumulative test, especially if you are a student who likes to binge study (aka pulling all-nighters the night before, taking the test, and then forgetting everything once you are done.) 

If you have a pretty solid grasp on the material you may not need to spend a lot of time on cumulative tests but I would personally make them a bigger priority than tests that cover recent material only.

What are your test trends?

Third, what are the trends with how you have done on previous tests? You need to go to your test scores and notice trends. What are your test scores telling you? Below I am going to walk you through a few examples to show you how I might conceptualize test trends for four fictional students.

Fictional Test Scores

  • Student One: In this example, student one had three exams that got progressively worse. They started with a 90, then an 85, and then the last test score they received was an 80. This doesn’t mean that the student can’t score better, but the general trend has been a downward trend, so if they need more than an 80 to get the grade that they want, it would be in their best interest to prioritize the test.
  • Student Two: In this example, student two has a pretty straightforward upward trajectory in their test scores. They started with a 90, then a 95, and then lastly they received a 100. It could be believed that their final score will range between a 90-100 based on prior experience. Depending on the score they have and the score they want to maintain they may not need to prioritize the test.
  • Student Three: This student is pretty stagnant. They haven’t made any gains or negatives over the course of their exams as they have made a 90 on all of their exams. Depending on the type of exam they have and given that they maintain similar study habits it can be seen that they will probably make a similar score. On the other hand, based on the score of 90 it can be seen that this student is potentially a borderline “Barely A” student (but we can’t tell for sure because we don’t know what they got on other assignments.) If they are a borderline student they may still want to prioritize the test. Obviously this would probably be a different situation if the student had received 96 As on all previous tests.
  • Student Four: This student is a doozy. They did well on the first and second tests getting a 90 and 100 respectively, but then test three threw them for a loop and they got a 85. It would be in their best interest to reflect on why their last score was so low (Did they have other projects that week? Did they grow too confident in their testing abilities based on the upward trend? Did they study inefficiently?) Based on the answers to that reflection students in this situation should assess how seriously they take the final exam so they can make sure that get the grade they want.

When are your tests?

Now, let’s go back to the schedule we made in step one. This is not the end all be all of how you should study (because we are talking about other factors obviously.) You can easily study in order of test date, but in order to do that you need to feel really secure in all your test scores. It is important to understand when your tests are though.

For example, if your hardest test is on the last day of finals week, you may not have to put all your effort and energy into that test right away, but it does need to be on your mind throughout the week. Understanding when your tests are will help you pace yourself and study effectively during finals week.

What is the layout of the test?

You must also think about what they layout of the test is.

  • Is the test multiple choice, short answer, essay, a mixture of all those?
  • What test methods do you do best? Do you flourish on essay test or do better with fill in the blank?
  • How many questions are on the test?
  • Does the timing to take the test feel right or rushed?

Once you think about these questions at length you will be able to determine your thoughts about taking the test and how difficult it will or won’t be for you. If you feel good about how many questions are on the test and you do well with the testing methods you may not need to prioritize the test. However if the timing for the test or the test method doesn’t work well with you putting in extra studying time may help you feel more at ease so you may want to prioritize studying for the test.


Once you have ALL of these questions thought out remember the following statement:

Prioritization doesn’t mean don’t study

Prioritization means that you should study the tests in order of importance, but it never means don’t study for a test. There will be certain tests that you barely have to study for, but you should do the minimal amount of studying necessary to feel good about the test if possible. You need to make sure you feel comfortable on test day and that you don’t squander an opportunity for a particular grade. Prioritize how much time you spend studying for each test as that is important, but always study at least a little bit.

3. Start early, end early

All-nighters are not okay. The best advice I can give to you is to start early so you can end early. Start studying for your tests way before finals week so that you can break study sessions into reasonable chunks and so that you don’t have to pull as many all-nighters. I get that sometimes it’s necessary, but your goal should be to minimize them as much as possible. A long while ago I discussed the dangers of all-nighters and why I don’t like them. Follow those thoughts, and plan better study schedules.

When you study longer you can cut out a lot of sleepless nights which would be good for your overall health during finals week. Don’t stress out, instead, make sure you have an adequate study plan that breaks your studying down.

4. Manage your time using the pomodoro technique

Y’all already know how obsessed I am with the Pomodoro Technique. I explain this technique more in this blog post, but this method of studying really helps me stay focused and power through tasks without getting too distracted. I love this because it has small and larger breaks built in so you aren’t studying for hours on end. The act of taking a break really helps because it allows you to take some time away, evaluate your previous study session, and refocus your brain for a new chunk of time. If you don’t have that constant ring back to reality it can be easy to go hours “studying” and not actually accomplishing anything.

I am not saying that the Pomodoro Technique will be the answer to all your studying prayers, but I encourage you to test it out and see if it could be the best study method for you.

5. Remember to take actual breaks

Since the Pomodoro Technique includes so many “breaks” it can be easy to skip over the time that you actually need to yourself each day. Yes, the five minute short breaks and 25 minute long breaks are awesome, but they are not a break that you can really grab on to. Take an actual break and de-stress for a bit:

  • Take a nap
  • Read a book
  • Go for a walk
  • Cook a healthy meal
  • Go to the movies

Why is this important to time management? Taking care of yourself during finals week is of the utmost importance. I know it seems counter productive to take a few hours off, but this is a crucial step. You can’t do anything if you break down during finals week due to stress. All your careful planning and methodical organizing will be for naught if you end up so sick you can’t get out of bed. Taking the time to recharge your thinking cap is so important so that you can survive finals week.

Finals week isn’t an easy task. You are literally doing multiple important tasks in all your classes whether that is writing a paper or taking a huge final test. Think of this as the Boss Battle in a video game–you want to make sure you have adequate energy before you go into the final battle.

6. Keep a finals pack nearby

When you are studying for finals, often times studying gets the best of you and you may be studying for a test up until the last minute. Then, the last minute turns into way too close to the time to take your test and you aren’t ready to go just yet. This is why you should have a just in case finals pack ready and by the door. What are some things you should consider putting into your finals pack?

  • Scantrons (if your teacher doesn’t provide them)
  • A small calculator if you are taking a math class (a small calculator is better than no calculator and being late) and depending on how you store your finals pack, a regular calculator
  • #2 pencils
  • Pens
  • A couple sheets of scratch or ruled paper
  • Snack crackers or 100 calorie snack packs (in case you get hungry)

You can probably fit all of these items inside a ziplock bag or even a tiny tote bag. Have these items packed in case you are running late. Sometimes you get a crappy final exam time (who thought of finals at 8 AM?) or you just are too busy studying to remember the time so having this bag is a lifesaver. 

7. Take a deep breath and slay

Before your test remember to breathe and slay. You got this. You have prepared your heart out and I believe in your hustle. When I want to remind myself of something, I make an inspirational wallpaper. Lucky for you, I got ya covered so you don’t have to spend your time procrastinating like I did. Instead, click the picture below and you will be taken to a Dropbox folder where you can download all of my awesome Take A Deep Breath And Slay wallpapers. You can change them out each day of finals week–or you can just use the one you like the most. You can also pick which one(s) you want to download in case you don’t want them all.