Exam Week: Day 3

So after spending most of yesterday in the ICU, also known as my bed, I woke up this morning feeling very much refreshed. Note to self, 9 hours of sleep in a 72 hour time period is never a good idea. Tomorrow I have both of my history finals (which I am for some reason excited for) and I thought that it might be fun to do another history related post. However, because it is finals week I am sure most people don’t want to spend the time reading through another lengthy post. (Nor do I really have time to spend writing said post, I still have some finals to study for too!) So instead I think I will write out another advice post. Instead of Research Advice, this time it will be study advice. Once again it will be related to History, however I think anyone can use some advice on studying. So here goes for what I have learned during the past 4 years! :)

  1. The first one I guess will be the obvious. As students,, we hear our Professors tell us this All The Time. It’s pretty simple. Don’t try to cram everything you need to know for an exam into 3 hours of intensive studying. It won’t work. Our short term memory is not that great. However, I do realize that most times we find out self short on time for studying. How to compensate for that? I recommend about 3-4 days ahead of the exam, just set aside an hour to go over the notes and articles you have read. Really you spend the same amount of time studying but because you spread it out, you have time to review everything you went over. Helping you remember. This video is just interesting, however accurate it may be….
  2. The second point is kind of related to the first one. However this one is more about how to study vast amounts of information, rather than when to do it. This is just something that has worked for me in the past, and maybe it will work for others. One thing that I like to do when studying for a history exam is to create a story out of all the dates and terms and people. Rather than memorizing each individual event, I try to make a story in my head about how each event leads to the next. This also works for people. Instead of memorizing everything about one person, then moving onto the next person and so on. I first look at how these people link together. This is especially the case for memorizing all the people involved in Watergate….
  3. The third point is something that I am sure has happened to everyone. Have you ever taken a test and come to a question that you don’t know the answer to, but you know EXACTLY where it is on a specific page in a book? Yes? Well that is our lovely photographic memory at work. This is why I recommend you multiple mediums to help study. Because quite frankly, why just use a book when you can also use video, or images, or audio to help you understand a topic? This is why I think the idea of Digital Humanities is pretty cool, because it brings all of that to you through the web. So I recommend hopping on Youtube or even the Internet Archive to find such things.
  4. Also, it is always helpful to study with a group. This does go along with the previous point about processing information, because it is another way in which you can re-learn the information you need for the exam. It is one thing to read about it, but it is an entirely different thing to talk about it. Also by talking with fellow students you will learn more and have a good time. ^^
  5. My final point makes me wish I took my own advice, but it is quite simple. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. That means sleeping, eating healthy, and also making sure your mind isn’t too overwhelmed by all the stress. The first one is simple, you need sleep otherwise you feel like crap. (There was a reason why most of yesterday was spent in my bed.) The second one is also simple, if you don’t get enough vitamins and nutrients then it really does hurt your body. (There is a reason why we are always told to rest and eat before big exams) And the final point? Well quite frankly there are times where your brain just needs a mind dump. So I recommend doing something not exam related. Something that you enjoy or helps you relax. For UMW students I do recommend the Stress-Free Zone. :D However, just doing something as simple as playing Tetris or going for a walk also helps.

That’s all I have for now. There are plenty of other ways to help study for exams and I am sure everyone has their own methods. These are just what works for me. If anyone else has any suggestions just comment! And Happy Studying :)

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