Whether it be an exam or quiz, studying is and has been an important part of student’s life. It is the way we, well, prepare for anything that requires prior knowledge. However, after I had a conversation with some friends, I realized that not a lot of us know how to study effectively. How to avoid long hours of studying, just to forget everything when the test is given out. Of course, there is no concrete way to study. Everyone has their own style of memorizing, learning and understanding things. However, I believe that there is a certain guideline to study smarter, not longer. Here are some things I picked up along the way.

Pomodoro Method

For those who have not heard of this technique before, it is a simple yet efficient study method where you block off a certain amount of time to study and certain amount of time to take a break. The standard sessions are to study for 25 minutes then take a break for five minutes. You repeat this cycle until the fourth time, where you take a break for 25 minutes. You continue with this cycle until you are finished. I personally like this method because it avoids burnout, a state when your brain and mental state is tired and you “burn out” the motivation you had prior. It allows me to forcefully work for a certain block of time, using the fact that I will have a break as motivation to keep studying. This is especially helpful when you intend to work for long periods of time.

Flashcards/Memory Sheets

If you go to any sort of educational system, you have probably come across a test or a quiz involving memorization. Memorizing is actually a very hard task for the brain, since your short term memory only holds five to nine pieces of information at a time. Therefore, the most efficient way to memorize is to store the information in your long term memory by using flashcards or memorization sheets. You probably have heard of flashcards before and most likely do not think to make it. However, it is a very good way to memorize things, as you can continue to quiz yourself on certain things and your brain finds a pattern between the term and the explanation. On the flip side if you do not want to spend money on cards like me, the following method is for you. Simply fold a lined sheet of paper in half, and put terms on one side and explanations on the other. That way, when you are quizzing yourself you can fold the paper in half.

Practice (and hard work) Makes Perfect

This overused phrase is actually very true. As my SAT prep teacher said, “There is no magic sauce, it is just hard work.” You cannot ace that exam without practicing, whether it be doing math problems or doing english concept questions. Go online and do those practice tests based on whatever you are studying for: Believe me, the internet will have something for you. Ask your teacher for practice problems. Reread and take notes on concepts you do not understand. In the end, hard work and practice will secure your desired grade.