You’ve crammed the entire night. No more numbers or facts can possibly fit into your brain. You think you can now quickly write everything down and receive an excellent mark. Yet when you get to the test your mind is a blur. Questions start to blend together and you start to forget everything you worked so hard to learn. When you receive the test back, the mark is less than satisfactory. If this story sounds familiar to you, then you are not alone. Cramming information at the last moment is a poor study habit. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your performance without increasing the amount of hours spent in front of the books. The following tips will help you improve your grades and feel healthier at the same time!
Study small amounts every night.
Learning 20 minutes of material every night over 2 weeks is equivalent to over 4.5 hours of cramming time. This method ensures your brain does not receive too much information at once. Furthermore, it will help you commit the information to your long-term memory. That means that when next year’s teacher expects you to have the previous year’s unit mastered, you will still remember what you had learned.
It is important to take small breaks throughout the night. This will help clear your mind and be more focused and will make each minute you actually study more productive and meaningful. During the break you can go for a walk, play a short game or eat a healthy snack.
Stay on top of your work each night.
If you do not understand a concept, ask your teacher the next day. Don’t leave the entire unit until the day before the test. Often teachers are answering questions from every student that day and will not have the time to fully explain the many questions swirling in your head.
It is important to eat a nutritious breakfast everyday. This will help you remain more focused while you learn the material as well as on test day. Eating meals with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains helps keep you fuller longer and feel more alert. They will also provide you with more energy during the day than sugary or fatty foods.
Drinking water throughout the day is a great way to stay focused. It is difficult to perform well on a test if you are thirsty and need a drink. Ask your teacher if you can keep a water bottle at your desk. Try to avoid sugary drinks such as pop and energy drinks as the initial burst of energy is quickly followed by a debilitating crash.
Get lots of sleep every night.
You are still growing! Students need at least 8 hours of sleep per night depending on their age. A full night’s sleep will help you feel more awake and well rested. It also helps you to remember information better. Many students feel that they often ‘sleep on’ the information they covered right before bed. The next morning they can solve certain questions better and can now remember difficult facts.
Exercise is a fun way to help you feel more energized. It has many benefits towards your health. It also provides an excellent break during your studying sessions. Even going for a quick walk during your break instead of playing a video game will prove beneficial in the long run.
Ask friends for help.
If you are unsure how to solve a specific problem, a close friend may have the answer for you. You should make sure you have several people you can contact in every subject. This is extremely helpful for when you don’t understand something during the evening when your teacher can’t explain it.
Create study groups.
Certain students feel they learn more by working in groups. Students with a stronger comprehension often benefit by explaining questions to their peers. These groups are an effective way to learn in a fun environment. Students can try posing questions they expect may be on the test. It is often the topics discussed during these groups that students remember the best.
Try to eliminate stress.
This can be done by planning ahead and breaking your work into smaller chunks. If you forget a question during a test, do not stress over it. Move on and answer more questions to ensure you complete the test in time. Often later portions of the test will help you remember the piece of information the difficult question required.