The Science of Studying


It’s coming up to end-of-semester exams. All us students are supposed to be well into revision, practice quizzes, review of notes……

But say you’re in the situation (like many of us) where you only have a certain amount time to get everything done. Then what’s the most efficient way to study? How can you learn the most in the least time?

So here’s the science-backed best ways to ace this semester!


Don’t cram the night before

This is self-explanatory. While cramming in the hour or two before an exam can help you remember those 2 or 3 difficult proofs, formulas, etc., it’s not a great strategy for the entire semester’s content simply because the whole semester is a lot of work. That means it’ll take all night (or two) to learn. And your best way of doing well on exam is getting enough sleep! In fact, if you can use your study week to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, you’ll probably do a lot better!


Do practice tests

This is referred to as “retrieval-based learning” in fancy science terms, but all it means is doing practice tests rather than just reading over your textbook and notes. Pretty much, it means your brain is practicing the ‘retrieving information pathways’ you’re going to need in the exam so you can remember stuff more quickly and easily. Sounds great!


Actually write

It’s easy to just type notes and stuff, but research has shown that the use of our hands in writing helps solidify the information we’re learning. Similarly, we often have to think more about taking notes or summarising when writing by hand because you can’t just copy everything in the time you’ve got. And lastly, your exam is probably going to require handwritten answers, so it’s really not bad to practice that skill beforehand!


Take a break

Things are divided on this. I find it quite interesting that some things say you should take a break every 20 minutes, while others say you only really get into your work after the 20-minute mark! However, you should probably be taking regular breaks (at least once an hour) to go get food, spend 5-minutes outside, stuff like that, to help stop that “ugh, I studied too long feeling”!


One last thing

This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you’re like me and get really stressed, it can help a lot to do up a comprehensive study planner, like on Monday- 2 hours calculus notes summary, 2 chemistry practice quizzes and read over chapter 3 + notes from physics.



So now, get back to studying!

And completely out of interest, the 3 majors who study the most hours a week are architecture, chemical engineering and physics, while the people who study the least are, no joke, majoring in leisure studies!!!!!

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