You are on page 1of 4


23 Science-Backed Study Tips to Ace a Test | Greatist

Get Started







23 Science-Backed Study Tips to Ace a Test
by Shana Lebowitz · 2 months ago · Happiness ’Tis the season to start studying. All over the country, students in high school, college, and grad school are going into panic mode, wondering how they’ll manage to remember an entire semester’s worth of information before the big final. Luck ily, we’ve got some advice to mak e those freak -outs a thing of the past. From talk ing out loud to tak ing gym break s, here are 23 ways to (gasp) get psyched about studying and ace those exams.

Sign Up and Receive

Greatist's Daily Tips
Your Email Address

Remember Your Stuff
Study when sleepy. Bedtime stories are for wimps. Instead of reading The Berenstein Bears, try studying for a few minutes right before hitting the hay. During sleep, the brain strengthens new memories, so there’s a good chance we’ll remember whatever we review right before dozing off[1]. (Just try not to bring work into the actual bed, since it can mak e it harder to get a good night’s sleep.) And though bedtime is primo study time, it might also help to crack open the book s after crack ing open those eyes in the A.M. — in the morning, the brain still has lots of room to absorb new information. Space it out. A relatively new learning technique called “spaced repetition” involves break ing up information into small chunk s and reviewing them consistently over a long period of time. So don’t try to memorize the entire periodic table in one sitting — instead, learn a few rows every day and review each lesson before starting anything new. Tell a tale. Turning the details you need to remember into a crazy story helps mak e the information /happiness/better-study-tips-test/


Research suggests meditation can reduce anxiety and boost attention span. Group work doesn’t fly with everyone. hit the local coffee shop for something caffeine-filled. Gimme a break . Don’t just start the week with the vague goal of studying for a history exam — instead. instead. not that k ind of drink . Start by recopying the most important notes from the semester onto a new sheet of paper. Doze off. Say om . music can help beat stress. Write it out. it can be tempting to stay up all night committing them to memory (or trying to). Jog a few laps around the block and see if you don’t come back with a few more IQ points. and so does science: Tak ing regular break s can boost productivity and improve our ability to focus on a single task [4]. are k nown for their brain-boosting potential. there’s no harm in trying it out for a few minutes to calm pre-test jitters [5]. If a computer’s necessary for studying. Quizzing ourselves may be one of the best ways to prepare for the real deal.S. nuts. Just before staring at a piece of paper for three hours. there’s lots of research suggesting coffee (and tea) k eeps us alert. music selection) and k eeping the group on target with its goals. Own the Omegas. So give those biology notes a soundtrack and feel at least some of the stress slide away. Some people are early birds. and then greatist. we force the brain to form new associations with the same material so it becomes a stronger memory. some prefer to study with a pal. As anyone who’s ever relied on Rihanna to mak e it through an all-night study session k nows. every time we move around (from the library to the coffee shop. five minutes of tweet-time: whatever floats your boat. we k now it’ll require some division. And don’t worry about break ing a sweat while trying to remember the name of the 37th U. Research suggests studying the same stuff in a different place every day mak es us less lik ely to forget that information. Experiment to find what’s most effective for you. Make me wanna shout. Pick a few studious pals and get together every few days to review the material. Get stronger and brainier at the same time. allot every day from 1 to 3 p. especially when nothing seems more exciting than the shiny gum wrapper on the library floor[3]. stare at a wall for three minutes. Feel free to inhale. Omega-3 fatty acids. found in certain fish. A few daily sun salutations may be all it tak es to k eep centered during finals period. or addition means we have to stop and think about which strategy is best.02/03/2013 23 Science-Backed Study Tips to Ace a Test | Greatist more meaningful. Treat yo’ self! A healthy holiday cook ie. it’s Nixon): The harder it is to remember a piece of information in practice mode. Research has found just half an hour of aerobic exercise can improve our brain-processing speed and other important cognitive abilities. doing a bunch of division problems in a row means every time we approach a problem. Take a time out. study a bunch of different material in one sitting. Practice your brain pose. Research suggests we store information more securely when we write it out by hand than when we type it. and olive oil. Tak ing time to plan is one of the most important sk ills a student can have. a study group’s the way to go. facing the siren call of a friend’s Facebook wall on the eve of a giant exam. When there’s a textbook full of equations to memorize. but for those who benefit from a little team effort. remember the order of mathematic operations PEMDAS this way: Philip (P) wanted to eat (E) his friend Mary (M) but he died (D) from arsenic (AS) poisoning. Daaaance to the music. to review 50 years’ worth of info. One study found that eating a combination of Omega-3-and Omega-6 fatty acids before an exam actually reduced test anxiety[7].com /happiness/better-study-tips-test/ 2/4 . For example. try an app (such as this one) that block s the Internet for a short period of time and see how much more you get done. Knowing there’s a little reward waiting for us at the end of just a few pages mak es it easier to beat procrastination while slogging through a semester’s worth of notes. aim to get those seven to nine hours a night so sleep deprivation doesn’t undo all the hard work you’ve put in. While those studies focus mostly on regular meditation. step away from the screen and break a sweat during a midday gym sesh. That’s because. Switch it up. president (fyi. they’ve been link ed to impaired cognitive performance and greater sensitivity to stress [6]. Drink up. This technique helps prepare us to use the right strategy for finding the solution to a problem. We’ve all been there. Learn what works. Pencil it in on the calendar lik e a regular class: For example. And while everyone’s got a different tune preference. others need complete and total silence. Don’t stick to one topic. Hardcore yogis tend to have better cognitive abilities — especially attention span — than folk s less familiar with Down Dog[9]. Instead. Nix the ’net. For a real productivity boost. the more lik ely we are to remember it in the future. Dusty old library again… or spa day? Research has found that catching a whiff of essential oils (lik e rosemary or lavender) can help calm students down before a big exam[8]. some are night owls. Put yourself to the test. Sorry. break up that goal into smaller task s. Sk ip the frantic last-minute review and try a few minutes of aromatherapy instead. Work it out. Put those third-grade penmanship lessons to good use. But all-nighters rarely lead to an automatic A — in fact. or the coffee shop to the toilet seat). Move your butt. But doing a series of problems that require multiplication. Put one person in charge of delegating task s (snack duty. division. In the days leading up to a big exam. The KitKat guys said it. Stay Focused Come together (right now).m. Reading information out loud means mentally storing it in two ways: seeing it and hearing it[2]. classical music in particular has been shown to reduce anxiety and tension. We just can’t guarantee you won’t get thrown out of the library. For example. a walk around the block . /happiness/better-study-tips-test/ 3/4 . Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 2010. Department of Integrative Physiology. Cardiff University. Nutritional Neuroscience 2005. The effects of lavender and rosemary essential oils on test-taking anxiety among graduate nursing students. Florida Atlantic University.A.. CO.P. Kinzelman. J. 2012. [↩] 4. FL. Food and Chemical Toxicology 2002.. Department of Psychology. Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory.. [↩] 0 0 0 Share 0 Share 0 0 Related Posts Turning Sweat Into Electricity: Two Schools Compete for Power Beat Back Stress with Regular Exercise The Surprising Reasons We Like Sad Movies A Map of the Human Brain. C. Brought to You By Obama Leave a Comment 0 comments 2 people listening Sign in + Follow conversation Post to Post comment as greatist.. Yehuda.. An update on mindfulness meditation as a self-help treatment for anxiety and depression. K.. J. Edenfield.. When learning met memory. [↩] 6.02/03/2013 stick with it! 23 Science-Backed Study Tips to Ace a Test | Greatist What are your favorite study tips? Share in the comments below or tweet the author directly @ShanaDLebowitz. et al. Tucker. Payne. [↩] 8. Department of Psychology. Rastogi. Boca Raton. and cognition 2012.. United States of America. S. University of Colorado. et al. Department of Psychiatric Medicine.M. Wright. Department of Psychology and Gonda Brain Research Center.. Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.. Mostofsky.O. Holistic Nursing Practice 2009. PLoS One 2012. Mixture of essential fatty acids lowers test anxiety.5:131-41.40(9):1243-55.. Circadian and wakefulness-sleep modulation of cognition in humans. Smith. P. Greenville. India.. [↩] 3. A. Center for Occupational and Health Psychology. Boulder. I. Brief and rare mental “breaks” keep you focused: Deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements. Thomas. University of Waterloo. Israel. Prakash.A. Lleras. A. Ranchi. NC. Psychopharmacology Laboratory.M.I. Christine E Lynn College of Nursing. Indiana. Lowry. Saeed. Macleod. Ontario. Lebourgeois. Rabinovitz.. T. Ellenbogen.8(4):265-7. [↩] 7.. McCaffrey. Psychiatry. M. Ranchi Institute of Neuropsychiatry and Allied Sciences. Long-term concentrative meditation and cognitive performance among older adults.J. Psychology Research and Behavior Management 2012.64(4):227-40. D. School of Psychology. Bar Ilan University. Works Cited 1. R. Dubey. Ariga.19(4):479-94. A. Effects of caffeine on human behavior. S.23(2):88-93. Ramat Gan. United States. University of Notre Dame. the cost of wake. R.A. 7(3):e33079. S. [↩] 9.M. A. Memory for semantically related and unrelated declarative information: the benefit of sleep. development. [↩] 2. Cognition 2011. UK.K. M. C. [↩] 5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.5:50. Notre Dame.D. Neuropsychology.

02/03/2013 23 Science-Backed Study Tips to Ace a Test | Greatist Site Information About Buzz Commenting Policy Privacy Policy Opportunities Careers Greatist Ambassadors Expert Network Advertise/Sponsor Stay in Touch Contact Us Terms of Use Made in NY /happiness/better-study-tips-test/ 4/4 .