- Emily Mustarde ’21
Being a student can be stressful. We all have weeks where there seems to be a quiz or test every single day. Though I am not a perfect student myself, I have a list of certain tools and tricks that could be helpful for any student at SHP who might be dealing with a stressful week ahead. These tips will (hopefully) help you to be more organized and less stressed for the rest of the school year!
- You have more time than you think
Right when you get home from school or practice, early or late, the feeling that you do not have enough time to study is always stressful. But, there is no need to fear! You actually have a lot more time than you think. A lot of the time, we think that we spend 5 hours studying for a test. But in reality, we have only been reviewing for an hour or so and spend the rest of the time checking out phone constantly. So, put your phone down or stop watching that netflix show in order to solely focus on your review. This will cut your “studying” time immensely. Looking at your school schedule to see the next day can give you a lot of insight about how much extra time you have to study, if needed. Your test might not be until after office hours, which means you have an extra thirty minutes to quickly review your notes or ask your teacher clarifying questions. If you are lucky enough to have a free period or your test after lunch, use your time wisely and review. Take advantage of late start Wednesdays and wake up a little earlier to take time and review your notes.
- If you don’t know it before 11pm, you won’t know it at 1am
At a certain point, your brain eventually gives up retaining information because it is too tired. Getting sleep is way more important than staying up until 1 am “studying.”. Information will not stay in your memory if you are sleep deprived, therefore staying up really late studying is not helpful at all. If I am feeling unprepared for a test late at night, I tend to set an alarm for earlier than I would wake up and study in the morning when my brain is “fresh” and awake. Though waking up earlier than you need to is challenging, at least you slept through the night and are able to retain the information that you were studying.
- Keep everything in one place
The smallest things can induce more stress than they should. For example, having papers flying across your room creates a frenzy and is a stressful reminder of how much information you need to learn. To reduce excess stress and increase organization, use a notebook and write everything that you need to know for your test in there. This way you will have everything organized in one place.
- Homework first, study second
If you have a lot of homework and a test the next day, do your homework first! Doing your homework before reviewing allows you to get everything off of your “homework checklist” , and once completed, leaves you with only the final task at hand. Homework is extremely important because it is specially designed to for students to prepare and practice for their tests in advance. Though it may seem tedious at times, you are actually preparing for future tests without even thinking about it. When studying, it is easy to lose track of time. If you spend your entire evening studying for a test until 10 pm and then start your homework, you will probably go to bed a lot later than you should, which will not help your performance on the assessment the next day. After completing all of your homework and review, sleep on the information! You know a lot more than you think you do.
- Treat yourself!
Waking up and realizing that you have to take a test is not always the best feeling in the world. In order to lighten the mood, listen to your favorite playlist on the car ride to school, bring your favorite snack from home, get a coffee, to do whatever you want to treat yourself! You have worked so hard and deserve a treat. A lot of the time I am really not in the mood to take a test, so a drink or snack of your choice makes it a little more enjoyable.
Study guides are intimidating, especially when they are 20 pages long. Having an extremely long study guide does not mean that you will know the information more or better than anybody else. It is okay if you start out with a long study guide, but by the end of your review session, you should be able to condense all of the main information into one to four pages. When it comes to minutes before the test and you want to review your notes, it is a lot easier to have a page or so of information rather than 20.
- Studying in the shower?
When we take a break from studying, we tend to go on our phone or watch a TV show. When studying seems to be just too overwhelming, taking a long shower is a really good way to take a break and give yourself more of an opportunity to sleep in in the morning. Being in the shower will allow your brain to simultaneously think about the information that you have reviewed. In a sense, this time allows information to just sink into your brain.
- White boards are your friend
White boards are a really helpful tool to use while you’re studying. It is a lot easier to write down important information and practice certain problems on a whiteboard rather than filling up your notebook with random and unorganized work.
- Go Over What You Don’t Know
It is really easy to focus on studying information that you already know when reviewing for a test. The best way to study the most efficiently is to focus your time and effort on the topics that you do not know as well. Spending time on more difficult topics will allow you to cut your studying time immensely because you will not spend hours of your time reviewing information that you already have memorized. If you don’t understand the material from your notes, YouTube is a very helpful resource to relearn the topics thought you struggle with or to hear a confusing topic explained a different way.
Going into the classroom and studying before your test may be a good idea. On the other hand, it is equally important to take a break. When I feel particularly stressed right before a major assessment, I step away from my study guide and stroll around campus with my friend, talking about other things that have no relation to the test in an effort to relax and distract myself for a moment. Right before the test, you know what you know. You won’t forget the information that you have studied the previous night before, and cramming information won’t necessarily increase your knowledge.
Photo from The Indian Express