10 Study Hacks (Plus Five Extra Tips!) for Midterms!

HI ALLLLL! Senior year is kicking my booty, and with midterms this week, I am S T R E S S I N! Between sorority events, a full time job, trying to maintain a consistent blogging schedule, a serious relationship, family life, my crazy pupper, and figuring out what the heck I am going to do after I graduate AND a senior year schedule, my life is getting hectic! SO ! For this week I decided to channel my inner srat twin (Aryanna if you're reading this I love u) who is an AMAZING VP-O for our chapter and is in charge of all things academic within our sorority! She inspires me to DO GOOD in school, so I have come up with 10 study hacks for y'all, plus five extra tips! Happy Friday, and DO GOOD this weekend! xoxo

  1. Write it down, IRL. Laptops and tablets are really handy for class, when a professor is speeding through a lesson, but studies show that writing down your notes with a pen and paper after class will help you cement all that info down a lot better than typing it up.
  2. Stuck on starting an essay? Make a Mind Map of all the concepts you want to cover. This will help you see your main points, sub-points, and will also help you from repeating yourself. After your Mind Map is complete, making your hypothesis statement will be a breeze, and you'll know exactly which points you want to cover.
  3. If possible, study during the morning and mid-afternoon. Your brain works better during these hours, and you'll be able to better retain all that info you're reading. Studies show that those who study at night only retain 20-50% of everything they are looking through.
  4. Study your notes within one day of taking them. This way you won't be cramming an entire semesters worth of lessons into a two hour study session, and you will be able to retain up to 60% more information. 
  5. Break it up! Study breaks are really important to ensure that you don't wear yourself out, or are just mindlessly reading a textbook for hours on end - but not actually retaining anything. Every 30 minutes, take a short break and check-in with a friend, call your mom, or just go on a short walk outside. I'd say to avoid social media as a break, because it can usually lead to a black-hole and before you know it you've been scrolling for hours!
  6. Study in bits and pieces. If you are only studying for one prolonged period of time, instead of breaking up your studying into different pieces for about a week or two before your final - chances are you aren't going to retain as much. Plus, a twelve hour study session is pretty daunting. Don't procrastinate! 
  7. If you do find yourself zoning out, try finding something interesting about the subject you're studying. TedTalks have so many different topics, and can help you find more interest in the subject you're learning about. It might not 100% have to deal with your exam, but it is a good way to stay on focus.
  8. Keep quizzing yourself throughout your study session. This will make sure you are actually retaining the information, and that you will be able to recall it when it comes to the exam. Be sure to ask yourself a variety of types of questions, such as short answers, multiple choice, matching. or essay questions, and always rephrase the question. This way you will ensure that you are actually learning the information, and not simply memorizing it (sometimes you can memorize things without even knowing it)!
  9. Set realistic goals. It's pretty easy to become deflated if you are trying to get a D to an A with one exam; once you realize how daunting and impossible the task is, you will probably want to give up. By setting realistic goals, you will be able to actually want to achieve them because you will feel confident that you can achieve them. 
  10. Think positively! If you keep on tearing yourself down, you will never want to study. Not only this, but you will associate that particular subject with all of those negative feelings. Instead of saying "I am not good at this," think "What am I missing?" Instead of "I'm giving up because this is too hard," think "This may take time and effort, but if I keep trying I will improve." Positive thinking will lead to a positive outcome, and vice-versa! 
  11. Fill your body with superfoods! Avocados are packed with vitaman-E (boosts immune system), dark chocolate has flavonoids (great for mental acuity, a.k.a. longer study sessions), and banana's carry trptophan and magnesium (which helps to calm your hormones and overstressed muscles)!
  12. Don't skip sleep! REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep is vital for learning association and memory. In maintaining at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep during finals week, you will be more awake when you do study and able to grasp (and retain) information you will need. 
  13. Listen up! Music has been shown to help students improve the quality and quantity of work performed, especially when complex tasks are at stake. Personally, I love to use Calm.com as background noise to help focus more on my task at hand. That way, if there is a sudden noise (like a door closing, computer turning on, or book slamming) I won't be as startled by it, and will be able to maintain my focus.
  14. Self-care! Never forget a meal, shower, brushing your teeth, or laundry. The ickier you feel, the more you will associate that feeling with studying - and will not want to study. Keeping clean will keep your brain clean, and will help you feel bright and fresh when the time for the exam comes around!
  15. Let it go. Some classes are never going to be your strong suite, and this is 100% O.K. For me, I have always struggled with math. In fact, I failed calculus three times and statistics two times during my college career. At first, it is such a defeating feeling. But in acknowledging that my brain just doesn't think "that" way, I was able to feel less defeated and just aim for passing my class - instead of just giving up!