Bruno Rojas 30/06/2020
Picture this: Its 12:36 PM, your study notes are spread out all over your bed, computer wide open and you’re barely awake trying to study for your Final Exam the next day. Thoughts are rushing through your head: “ I wish I was an expert in this topic” “I should’ve started studying earlier”, “Oh man, 4 hours of sleep again”. If this has been you then I can assure you that: you got a 70 or lower on that exam AND that It wasn’t your first time. I know it’s true because guess what? I’ve also been there. So let me teach you how to properly study so that none of these things happen to you, and most importantly, you get those straight A’s you’ve been yearning for your whole life.
Step #1. The mentality of a winner
When I hear everyone saying: “oh man I’m going to fail” multiple times before the test, I seriously start to shake my head. If any of you have ever heard or read the book called “The Secret” then you know what I’m talking about. It’s called “The Law of Attraction” and the more you say it, the more likely it is to come true in your life. Normally I’ll hear people saying it because all their friends haven’t studied either so they want to fit in, and I’ve got to admit, it has happened to me as well.
If you want to do yourself a favor, STOP REPEATING THAT SAME NEGATIVE PHRASE. I’m not saying by just repeating a positive phrase over and over you will get results 100% of the time, but reducing the negative and increasing the positive is a little boost of confidence before a test.
Step #2. Be friends with the teacher
From the very beginning of the semester, start talking with the teacher in a friendly/funny way, share your daily life with them, tell them about your problems, joke around with them, and even compliment them. Are you wondering why? Here’s why: First of all, you might realize that your teacher is a pretty nice person and maybe you even have something in common.
Second of all, you humanize the student-teacher relationship and therefore build a connection of trust and friendship, even if that connection isn’t that strong, it can come in handy. That “connection” will make the teacher think of you whenever she/he is grading your exams/projects, you might have a bad grade and the teacher will think of the stuff you are going through and might just empathize with you and boost your grade a bit.
Now, I’m not saying you should abuse a person’s trust, but simply give the teacher a reason to not completely flunk you. I’ve seen this work many times, I’ve also seen it backfire, so in general, keep a cool relationship with the teacher and that will do.
Step #3. Pay attention in class!
I know this is hard! Specifically for some more than others, but let me tell you, at the end of the semester it pays off! You might be familiar with this situation:
Student #1: “jeez, I was up till noon studying for the exam”
Student#2: “Really? I studied for only an hour and finished at 6 pm”
It could be that one student put more guts and hard work into studying, but It could also have to do with the amount of attention put in class. For those of you that DON’T pay attention in class it will seriously be a lifesaver. The moment you start to study for your final exam or any exam for that matter, you will quickly realize that you RECOGNIZE the majority of things you’re studying and that you can memorize the information easier. Why? you may ask yourself, well because you’ve already gone over the information once, therefore, going over it twice will be much easier!
Also, by paying attention you can pick up questions you might have about the topic, therefore when you start studying you won’t waste your time looking up every question you have, because you’ll already have the answers from the teacher himself!
Step #4. Familiarize yourself with the topic
Familiarizing and getting interested in the topic is optional yet may be one of the best choices you could make before a test. Normally we study because we are FORCED to study, however, studying by cause of interest is a completely different thing.
In this part, all you have to do is a little extra research. If you have a french exam, a week before the exam go on YouTube and watch the daily news in french, try to speak in french with your family, or even watch your favorite Netflix series in French. This could change your POV (Point Of View) of the topic and make you start to pinpoint and locate the things you study in daily French life.
Of course, it doesn’t only apply for language classes, it also applies to Science, Programming, and even Math. Learn to love the topic, or at least like it, once you are interested, it will be easier to memorize the information.
Step #5. Make good study notes
Making good study notes is VERY important for memorizing information. Let me tell you from experience that looking at organized notes is a hundred times easier than looking at old crummy notes with ketchup stains on it. Apart from making it easier for you, you’re also doing your brain a favor by letting it rest and simply pick up info instead of reorganizing AND THEN picking it up. You’ll notice that whenever your notes are organized you seem to memorize things easier and everything goes quicker and smoother.
A warning is that organized and neat notes may take quite a lot of time to make, so be wary of your time limits. Start to make your notes a week before the exam so you don’t get caught the last day trying to make super clean, organized notes which I repeat could take a very long time to make.
Step #6. Get rid of all the distractions
This might be the easiest thing in this article, yet the hardest. Getting rid of your distractions is one of the most important tasks because it can ruin everything you have done up to this moment. All it takes for most people is putting their phone in another room and leaving it there while you study somewhere else, legit that’s all it takes. Before you leave your phone, make sure you’ve answered all the important texts and told your family members to leave you in peace for 2 hours. Still, it’s not as easy as it sounds, nowadays people tend to check their phone every 5 min; if you seriously can’t get rid of your phone or another object, give it to someone else and tell them to hide it. It might not be easy but start training yourself, so in the future, you can do it for large periods.
Step #7. Study smart, not hard
Normally I’d say: “put your blood, sweat, and tears into it” or in other words “study hard”. Yet most people are reading this so they can find the easy way out, so I’ll give it to you. Assuming you’ve followed the last steps you’ve already done 60% of the work; so let me help you get that 40% that you’re missing.
First of all, eat gum while you study and while you’re doing your exam. Not only does it enhance attention, concentration, and alertness but best of all, it improves MEMORY. Having a good concentration and good memory are key to having a good grade. lots of people ask me: “Bruno, what if I don’t have a good memory?” well then that’s the answer! Start reading books like crazy and chew gum before summer ends and you’ll be good as new for the next semester.
Now, when you study you have to repeat information constantly so prepare yourself mentally before you start. When you start repeating information don’t repeat it too much, you’ll get stuck on the same thing and waste valuable time. Try to repeat a single thing 5 times and then move on, if you don’t remember when you come back to it, do it again 5 more times and so on. Keep a clock at your side at all times so that you can monitor how much time you spend memorizing a specific section otherwise you might spend 40 min on a simple paragraph that might not even be on the test.
Step #8. Test yourself
Now is the time to finish what we started. If you want to make sure you get 100% on your final test you need to test yourself one-two days before the final exam.
First of all, make sure to ask the teacher the exact topics before the exam, ask her/him whether the test is hard or not, and how much time you’re going to have. Based on what you have studied and what your teacher told you to study make a mini-exam with a time limit to simulate your real exam. This will test your knowledge, your time effectiveness, and how good you can perform under pressure. The test doesn’t have to be extremely complex, it just has to simulate a copy of what the test could be like. The results of this mini-test will also give you an approximation of what your score will be, and how you can improve in the last day or so.
I hope you enjoyed this article and I’m sure that the next time you have a final exam you will ace it if you follow these steps correctly.