Exams are one of the most stressful things students deal with during their time in school. It's time to put those worries behind you.
To help you ace your next exam, I'm sharing eight mental hacks you can use so you have a better chance of managing a good grade.
1. Study In Intervals
While some people may swear they do just fine on exams when they “cram” the night before, it's really not the best way to absorb the material you need to learn. And it's certainly not recommended to take a chance on this strategy!
When you cram, you're usually scrambling to review the material the night prior to the exam.
Instead, you should prepare for an exam in advance by studying for at least a few days leading up to the big day.
One of the best ways to plan out your study sessions is to study in intervals. The next time you have an important exam to prepare for, try studying for 20- to 50-minute increments, followed by a 5- to 10-minute break.
This helps you retain the information you're reviewing and will be a huge help when you sit down to actually take your exam.
2. Exercise Right Before the Exam
Research has shown that exercise does our brain a lot of good, even when preparing for a big exam. We actually get a boost in brain power right after completing a workout session.
Exercise delivers oxygen and other vital nutrients to our brains, which is ideal for a study session. It will also help you to feel more alert when you sit down to hit the books.
So, take some time to go for a run or hit the gym before you study.
3. Eat Right And Stay Hydrated
If you want to have the energy to power through a long study session, you'll need to provide your body with the nutrients it craves in order to experience optimal function.
You can give your body a boost of energy by eating protein-packed foods, like eggs and peanut butter, or by snacking on a bowl of fresh fruit. Strawberries are one fruit that are known to give your body some extra energy.
It's also important that you drink plenty of water before and during studying to help your body stay hydrated.
Dehydration can cause a lot of problems for our bodies, including a decrease in focus and motivation.
4. Try Taking A Supplement For An Extra Boost
No, I'm not talking about abusing prescription meds, like Adderall and Ritalin.
Popular in Silicon Valley, brain hacking supplements are used daily for an extra mental edge. These supplements are called “nootropics.”
Popular nootropics on the market today, such as Alleradd and Mind Lab Pro, promise to help improve your focus and concentration. They can even improve your memory and recall, which make them perfect for study sessions and taking exams.
Prior to purchasing a nootropic, it's a good idea to consider if they're really the right option for you. If you decide to try them out, make sure you do your research to find the best one for you.
Review the ingredients they contain, as well as the benefits they aim to provide you. When in doubt, ask your doctor!
5. Alternate Your Study Spots
Are you always studying in the same spot? If you're guilty of only studying in your bedroom or at the library, you might want to consider changing it up.
It turns out that studying in multiple locations is actually better for you.
According to the New York Times, a study was conducted on a group of college students who were asked to review a list of 40 vocabulary words.
These students were split into two groups. One group studied in two different rooms, while the other group studied in just one room. The group that switched rooms performed better on the test.
Apparently, your brain makes associations between the material it's reviewing and its surroundings. So, try mixing things up next time!
6. Keep Anxiety To A Minimum
There's always a lot of stress surrounding study sessions. You might be worried that you didn't review enough material or you might start panicking over the thought of getting a bad grade. While these feelings are common, they aren't doing you any good.
To keep feelings of anxiety at bay during exam time, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure you give yourself ample time to prepare for an exam. No cramming!
If you're doubting your own abilities, shift your mindset by telling yourself you'll do great instead of worrying. And it never hurts to promise yourself a reward after the exam is over.
Here are a few more great ideas for helping to lessen your anxiety while preparing for an exam.
7. Recopy Your Notes
Did you know that we store information best when we write it out by hand? It's true! These days, we typically rely on our computers to type out notes during lectures in the classroom. While this is helpful for speedily getting things down, it's not the best for retaining information.
To help you study for an exam, take those notes you typed up and write them out by hand. This is a great way for you to review the information, and it takes a bit more concentration from you to do this.
8. Quit Procrastinating
How often do you get sucked into those time-wasting websites while you're trying to study? Probably more often than you'd like to admit!
When you're using your computer to study material for an exam, it's very tempting to navigate to Facebook to see what all of your friends are sharing. That's a bad habit you need to break!
Fortunately, there are actually tools you can use to prevent you from procrastinating while on the web. You can try installing an extension like StayFocused to the Google Chrome browser.
This extension is designed to limit the amount of time you spend on websites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and others. Once you've used up the amount of time you're allowed for those kinds of sites, they'll be blocked for the rest of the day.