3 Short & Simple Study Tips

Hey! I haven’t posted in a while and its mainly because of this all-consuming summer course I’m taking. Exams are coming up for me again and this time I thought I’d share some more studying tips with you guys. I did a exam prep post back in June but the tips I shared there were more general tips and I left out a lot of things relating to the whole studying process. Since high school, I’ve scowered the internet for useful websites/study tips and I’ve built quite an extensive bookmark library so I’m now sharing some of them with you all!


Sound

This is a really big thing for me when I study. Whether I listen to music or not during my studies depends how far along I am in my studies, where I am, how much I understand the material, and my ability to focus that day. I know that its different for everyone but if you’re struggling with the material, I suggest not to listen to any music or have any sounds because that will just add to the struggle. I rarely listen songs with singing because I will just start to sing in the middle of reading something. So unless I’m super familiar with a topic or just doing a last-minute skim-over, I’ll usually listen to instrumentals. Below is my favourite study playlist. There are a couple of songs with singing but they are mostly just really nice relaxing instrumentals.

If you don’t like to listen to music but can’t stand absolute silence either, check out Soundrown! They have all sorts of sounds that you can mix together from the classic coffee shop to the sound of a playground. My favourite mix is the sound of fire because it just makes me feel warm, toasty, and ready to study.


Distractions

I bet this is a huge issue to most people. With the internet at the tip of our fingers, how can we focus on studying? There are even times where we have to use the computer to study and it’s just oh so easy to find yourself suddenly watching Youtube videos. I find that my fingers have developed a natural reflex to just open a new tab and type in “Y” to get to Youtube lol.

Anyhow, usually I can control myself but on the days when I absolutely cannot focus or stay off Facebook, I use a self-control app that blocks a custom list of websites (this one is just for mac but there are a lot of websites that do this as well). The good thing about this app is that once you turn the blocking on for lets say 5 hours, you absolutely cannot terminate it even if you delete the app and everything. It’s perfect for the internet-obsessed!


Study Breaks

Sometimes there’s so much to study that you feel like there’s no time to take breaks but breaks are a must! I feel like a study break takes all the material you’ve just studied, sets it in, and clears your mind for new material. During my breaks (which never go longer than 20 minutes!), I like to watch music videos or just chat a little with my friends to see what they’re up to. I also love to vent out my study frustrations to everyone.

Something that really helps is a website known as The Quiet Place Project. It helps you calm down and clear your mind for 30 seconds with calm music and encouraging words. I highly recommend it and its amazing how 30 minutes of absolute silence can you feel so good and refreshed.


I highly suggest you to search up “tumblr study masterpost” as that’s usually where you’ll find tons of useful resources for studying. IMO, some blogs have much more useful websites and such than articles you’ll find online. Good luck on your studies!

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Exam Prep II: My Studying Routine

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This is part two of my exam prep post. Check out part one here! Anyways, this is my official studying routine. It may seem tedious to some but after years of studying, I found that this routine is my favourite since it almost always guarantees me good grades. But just remember, in the end it’s really about finding something that works for yourself!


My Exam Studying Routine

As of now, all my courses have a textbook of some sort and Powerpoint slides that the professor provides. As the course progresses, I will take notes for each chapter of the textbook that is on the syllabus. I will also take notes on the Powerpoint and lectures showed in class. Typically, I have a designated notebook for each course.

Before I start studying for an exam, I like to go through every possible link that the professors tell us to check out and bookmark them into a folder specifically for the course. I then download all the practice exams and answers (if available) into a folder on my laptop that is also specifically for the course so I can access them easily later. I also make flashcards with condensed notes on the learning goals. Now that I have all my study materials with easy reach, the official studying begins.

My main studying method is reading, thinking, and reenacting. For each piece of study material, I read a chunk of text, think about it in my head and then recite it out loud in a way as if I had to teach someone who had no clue about any of the material. I find this really effective because I’m not just reading the text but absorbing it and teaching it, which forces me to really understand it. Speaking out loud really helps as well since you’re hearing the material and using more senses to study. Because I need to talk out loud, I often study at home on the day before my exam.

Now, I know reading is definitely not for everyone since textbook reading can take a long time and its so easy for what you’re reading to just fly over your head, but my routine works well for me because I’m more of a self-learner.

As you will see in my to-do list below, my routine is basically a list. If I’m really feeling rushed I will make a timed schedule that gives me more pressure to study more efficiently.

1. I read the textbook fully and carefully

Reading the textbook is an absolute must for me because this is where I get the most detailed information and builds a strong foundation of knowledge.

2. I read lecture notes or Powerpoint slides that are from in class.

Typically, tests will focus more on the material the professor goes over in class.

3. I go over any videos, animations, or other links that my professor has recommended.

After all that reading, it’s very helpful to watch some videos or do some interactive animations that give you a visual idea of the material.

4. I do practice exams.

It’s effective to do practice questions only after you’ve covered all the material because then you can see what areas you’re lacking in.

5. I go over my own written notes. 

My written notes are from the textbook but are shorter and more condensed. I go over these as an added reinforcement.

6. I go over any sections that I had trouble on.

As I read the material, I like to note words I don’t know or sections that I feel like I forget very easily. This is when I go over all the sections I had trouble with before and get a better understanding.

7. I go over my flashcards.

As the very very last step, I will go over my flashcards just to tie everything together.


As you can see above, I treat studying kind of like a show. There is the beginning which is me reading the material, the middle where I’m doing practice questions, and the end where I wrap up all the loose ends and end off with a bang! Basically, I’m just trying to make studying seem way more fun than it actually is. A girl can try, no?

Exam Prep I: My Studying Tips & Tools

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Since I’m currently taking summer courses, I’ve had two midterms in the last month. I’m only taking one course so the load is pretty light but exams still require a great amount of study time. I find that I have a specific routine when it comes to studying that pretty much applies to all the courses I take so I thought I’d share that with you. This time, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite studying tips and tools. Hopefully you can find some new and helpful tips in this post!


Study Space

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My desk is often very messy but It definitely does feel better to study in an organized environment. Having a clutter-free desk makes my mind feel clutter-free as well. It also helps that I can find all the materials I need without having to dig through the piles of stuff on my desk. A nice bright atmosphere is also very important. Other than a room light, it’s also very important to have a bright lamp. Sometimes when I study into the night I like to close my room lights and just have my one lamp open. It makes me feel focused somehow that all the light is focused on my desk.


Food

I need need need to have food around me when I study because I use snacks as short study breaks. I like to bring a basket of snacks (ie. cookies, granola bars, fruits) and put them away from my desk so I can get in a little big of stretching in between. Also because my table is quite small 😛


To-do Lists

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I always make to-do lists on what chapters I need to read and what not. It’s never good to be wondering what to study next because your mind tends to wander. Having a schedule helps you continue studying for a longer period of time because you can immediately start on the next task after you’ve finished your current one. Staying organized always helps!


Flash Cards & Sticky Notes

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These are probably a no brainer but flash cards and sticky notes are a must! I used to never use flash cards because I hated writing more than I needed to but now I pretty much can’t life without them. I like to print out my learning goals for each test, number them, and then make flashcards with notes corresponding to each goal. I make these to highlight the more important material and also as a last-minute easy and fast way to study. As for sticky notes, I use them to write down definitions for vocabulary that I might have missed in my own notes. The notebook I’m using now (from Artbox) has a space on the side where I can write short brief notes. There is where I often put my sticky notes on.

The sticky notes above are neon ones from Daiso and they are my favourite. Since they are slightly translucent, I love using the thin ones to highlight in the textbooks that I want to resell one day. As for the flashcards, I think I got them at my university bookstore but they just have these coloured edges which are great for organizing into chapters/units.

Prior to an exam, I also mark in my notebook which page is what chapter which just makes for easy navigation once you get farther along into the course.


Trays

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I bought this leather catch-all tray from eBay and I take it with me whenever I go out to study. At home I like to set it up on my desk and put in all my tools for studying like my writing instruments, flashcards, and sticky notes. I think this is really great because you can easily find all the stuff you need in one place.


Hopefully these tips weren’t too run of the mill and actually helped you of some sort!