Don't Study Harder, Study Smarter: 5 Tips to Ace College Exams

You won’t get anywhere by just studying long hours and blindly memorising everything from your study notes and textbooks. Here are some key study tips to help you study smarter!

Updated 05 Mar 2019

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There's nothing quite like the pre-exam season in college. Libraries are filled with students, study lounges are occupied till wee hours of the morning and coffee seems to be the most popular choice of beverage.

With all the stress building up as the days get shorter, remember that studying smarter (not harder!) is the key to acing your exams. You won't get anywhere by just studying long hours and blindly memorising everything from your study notes and textbooks.

Here are some key study tips to ace college exams, ensuring that you study smarter and get the most out of your study time.

1) Mark the dates on a calendar

Don’t underestimate how much time you have before your exams start!

Plan your study schedule (right down to the topics) and set strict deadlines for yourself. By marking down key dates on a calendar, you will be able to see clearly how much time you have left and how much material you need to cover.

Good planning and hard deadlines can help maximise productivity to ensure that you're actually studying, instead of procrastinating and surfing Facebook.

2) Study in chunks & reward yourself

Your ability to retain and recall information will deteriorate over time, so don’t just keep cramming and memorising.

Plan your study sessions so that you are completely focused on a topic and set aside short breaks in between each study session. Whether it's a YouTube clip or going for a walk, a 10-minute break will give your brain the chance to refresh and prepare itself for the next round of studying.

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3) Always test yourself

Studies have shown that active learning is a highly effective study technique, which is why top scholars are ALWAYS testing themselves after revising a topic.

Work on past year papers and tutorial questions, or even write your own questions and answers on flashcards to test yourself. These will help you learn and understand your study material. You can even get your friends and family to quiz you too!

4) Get yourself a study partner

Having a study partner is great way to keep you motivated, especially when you're having a bad day and all you want to do is just sleep.

Not only that, your study partner can help explain to you difficult concepts, and you can help your partner too! In fact, teaching someone what you’ve learnt is a great way to test yourself to see how much you’ve understood your study material.

5) Get enough sleep

A good night's rest is crucial for you to retain all the information you've studied, since lack of sleep will lead to impaired memory and a drop in concentration.

Be sure to have proper sleeping times too! Studying late into the night may seem like a good idea, but you WILL have exam papers in the morning and you don't want your body clock to tell you that it's time to sleep while answering exam questions.

Along the way, remember to eat well and avoid unhealthy food. The worst thing that can happen to you is to fall sick just before a paper. And if you feel like giving up, just think of the days where you'll get to laze around after you finish all your papers!

What other tips do you have to ace your exams? Let us know in the comments below. For more study tips, check out this article: 5 Effective Ways to Trick Yourself to Be More Productive

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    Stanley Low

    Stanley Low

    A finance and economics graduate. Curious by nature and loves to spend his days dreaming.