Studying for finals, or even just a test in general, can be an overwhelming experience sometimes. You either cram everything at the last minute or you’ve overwhelmed yourself with information overload all week. Fret not though, there’s no need to pull another all-nighter! We’ve gathered five science-backed study tips so you can ace that upcoming test.
Study when sleepy.
Yes, really. It’s a great idea to study when you’re tired. Try to study a few minutes before you’re ready to crawl into bed. During sleep, your brain strengthens new memories, so there is a higher chance that we can remember what we were reviewing right before catching those ZZZ’s. Avoid bringing work into bed with you, as it makes it harder to get those eight hours of sleep.
Space it out.
There is a new learning technique known as “spaced repetition” which involves breaking up information into small pieces and then reviewing them consistently over longer periods of time. Don’t attempt to memorize the entire periodic table in one sitting! Instead, learn a few rows every day and review each lesson before starting something new.
Research has shown that studying the same stuff at a different location each day actually makes us less likely to forget that information. Each time we move around (from our dorm to the library to the coffee shop to the table outside), we are forcing our brain to form new associations with the same material so that it can become a stronger memory.
That’s right, there’s no need to give up caffeine! Get to your coffee shop and enjoy a caffeine filled coffee, or tea, to remain alert. 3 to 4 cups of coffee or tea a day is perfectly fine.
It might be tempting to pull an all-nighter when you have a ton of information to learn. However, pulling an all-nighter can cause impaired cognitive performance and can also cause a greater sensitivity to stress. In the days leading up to the test, be sure to sleep for at least seven to nine hours a night so that sleep deprivation won’t undo all the hard studying you’ve put in.