The Dos And Don'ts Of Studying

As the beginning of the spring semester kicks into full swing, Texas Tech students will start seeing their first wave of exams. While some people are still sticking to their New Year’s resolution to study more, according to Disability Services Associate Counselor James Cooper, the majority of students put off studying until the last minute.

Senior accounting major Rachael Wells said her approach to studying means working hard without any distractions.

“I usually get all of my materials together and go to the library,” Wells said. “I don’t really study a lot of days in a row I study for like two days in a row, but I’ll be at the library for like 13 hours straight and then the next day, too.”

Cooper said learning proper test taking skills could help students perform better on their exams. Cooper has held multiple test taking seminars for Tech students to learn what they should do before and after an exam.

“I really want to say it’s an art form because you have to look at what you have and attack it in the way it’s designed,” Cooper said. “Find the flaws, find the way you’re supposed to work it, and don’t go in there blindly.”

Cooper said it is important for a student to be fully prepared for a test, by analyzing the information given in class, looking at notes, and reading the syllabus, being alert and relaxed with confidence.

He said being familiar with the text ahead of time, reading the textbook assignments from class, and staying clear of trying to catch up on the readings two days before the test will help students understand the information better.

Once the test begins, scan the exam and plan out which part of the test should be focused on the most, he said. Look at the easy questions first because students should not waste time on a question they are unsure about, Cooper said.

Students should remember that maintaining a healthy mind and body can enhance test-taking skills, he said.

Physical Barriers:

  • Get plenty of sleep – go to bed at a decent hour and prevent pulling all-nighters.
  • Avoid coffee and sugar – too much of these can make a student jittery and lose focus.
  •  Eat right – have breakfast in the morning to get your system going, do not eat a candy bar for breakfast and then take a test. Eating well will prevent chances of getting sick.
  • Learn to relax – avoid psyching yourself out before a test, take a yoga class or practice deep breathing.

“[Students have] to learn that this is not the end of the world, this is just one exam, take a deep breath and move on,” Cooper said.

Students will often consider test taking as a horrible experience or assume performing poorly on a test will ruin their whole life, Cooper said. If a student concentrates on what the negative outcome would be, it would take the focus off of the actual test itself, he  said.

Students should be reviewing their class material everyday for at least 30 minutes to help refresh their memories Cooper said.

“80 percent of the information is lost if you do not review from the class period,” Cooper said. “You want to review within that 24 hours and every time after that it repeatedly increases the amount of information that you’re going to retain.”

Students should simply calm down when it comes to finals, Cooper said. If a student relaxes and is prepared enough in advance, the student should not be worried, he said.

About Corley Peel
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