We’ve scouted a member of our team who has had a strong academic track-record to give us their best tips and tricks for studying during this critical time. Comment below and let us know which of these tips work best for you!

16 Tips to Study Smarter

We must learn that in College and University, a large part of this experience is learning how to learn. It’s not about how much we’re studying and how hard we’re studying, but how effective we are studying. Don’t let poor grades drag you down. It’s all about learning how you learn best – and finding little hacks along the way to master your study sessions. Whether your end goal is to achieve a high GPA or simply pass a class, these tips will make you enjoy studying a little bit more (or at least make it more tolerable!)

1) Find out what kind of learner you are

Are you a visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic learner? This is important to know because you could be spending a lot of time studying, but you may not be studying effectively for your needs. Knowing what kind of learner you are early on is tremendously helpful in the long-run. Here’s a great infographic that can help you decipher what type of learner you are & give you tips on how to study.

2) Listen to lectures 2x the speed

If you don’t have time to power through 20+ hours of lectures, try listening to the audio in 2x the speed with a free program like Audacity.

3) Make a study calendar

Have a plan. With 5 or more final exams smushed together within a small time-frame, planning is key. If you don’t plan to succeed, you plan to fail! Allocate short spurts for every subject so you don’t get bored on the same subject all day.

4) Treat yo’self

Reward yourself. Take breaks! Drink a smoothie! Watch that Buzzfeed video! After every hour, your brain can only absorb so much energy at a time. But stay disciplined and don’t get lost in the deep-hole of YouTube videos. If you think you’ll divert, create a study alarm schedule on your phone.

5) Study in a different environment

If you know that studying at home will just lead you to your comfy bed & hours of Netflix, don’t do it. Drag yourself into the library. If the drab energy from your school library is not motivating enough, visit a local coffee shop! While it can get noisy, the hustle and bustle energy will pump you up for a productive study session. And a plus – you’ll feel less inclined to hop onto Facebook every few minutes.

6) Use colors with a purpose

Learn how complementary hues can enhance your memory retention. Unless you’re a visual learner, highlighters may not be the best method for you to study.

7) Memorize with mnemonic devices & song

For those courses that require a VAST amount of memorization – use mnemonic devices to group seemingly random terms. You’d also be surprised at the number of resources out there on YouTube. Trying to learn the Kreb’s Cycle for metabolism? Check out this rendition of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop.

8) Chew minty gum!

Studying is not just about our visual senses. Take advantage of your sense of taste and olfaction. Chewing the same minty gum or mints from you study sessions can help you retain information better when you take your test. It can also keep you from getting the munchies, and help you concentrate, focus, and stay awake! (We know you’ll be chewing lots – so chews sugar-free and aspartame-free PUR Gum!)

9) Ditch distractions

Get distracted easily? Close your laptop. Put away your phone (maybe, don’t even bring it with you?) If you know you have little self-control, don’t give yourself the option. Ditch the tech, and grab a paper & a textbook. Do more practice questions. Re-write concepts in your own words. And just maybe – open that textbook?

10) Tingle your eardrums

Does music work for you when you’re studying? While some people require some sort of noise to study, lyrical music may not be the best for retaining information. The mixed audio can jumble the signals of information you’re trying to retain – especially if you’re an auditory learner! Browse Spotify for white noise and the best Focus playlists – Peaceful Piano is my favorite.

11) Check out The Mozart Effect

Speaking of piano music… listening to Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos K448 is said to “increase your spatial-temporal IQ scores by 9 points” for 10-15 minutes. Listening to this piece before entering the exam doors can help calm you down and give you a boost of confidence.

12) Teach your friends

Set a time to study together with a 4 person group (max!) – after you’ve already powered through the material individually. This is time to clarify any confusing concepts with one another. Re-stating information to your friends in your own words helps strengthen your own understanding.

13) Make a cheat sheet (even if you don’t use it)

By the time you finish making your cheat sheet, you’ve already looked over all the important materials! Make sure to concentrate on the most important concepts first.

14) Get well rested the night before

When it comes to 12:00 am, it’s time to snooze. Your brain is better off with a full night’s sleep than having last-minute information crammed in.

15) Visit your professors and teaching assistants

Some professors who are not-so-great lecturers can be great one-on-one. Teaching assistants went through the same thing as you – they feel your pain. They’ll explain the information to you in the most empathetic way.

16) Stretch and smile 🙂

Try breathing deeply, stretching further, and smiling more. Just push through the momentary discomfort, but you’ll get through it – and you won’t regret it.

Best wishes (and a little bit of luck!) to everyone during your finals! Remember the light at the end of the tunnel: going back home and celebrating the holidays with your friends and family.

– The PUR Team

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