Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gabby's Tip of the Week: Studying for Exams

Congratulations on already completing your first month at UMass! My name is Gabby and I, along with my three fellow peer advisors, will be writing weekly posts on how to have a successful and fun academic experience during your time in college.

Amherst is a truly beautiful place in Autumn! Now that the leaves are changing colors and cider doughnuts are making their way into grocery stores (and our stomachs), there are so many fun opportunities to take advantage of in the area.  Despite all of the loveliness that this season has to offer, it's unfortunately midterm exam time on campus. That's why this week I’ll give you five awesome tips on how to productively study for your exams while also finding time to relax and enjoy! 

Tip #1: Find a comfortable place
Who wants to study in an environment that they don't enjoy?  It's so important to be comfortable wherever you study. This could be your bedroom, the library (they have quiet and talking floors!), under a tree on campus, or even in a local cafe. Ask yourself what type of place works best for you--do you like some background noise, or do you need silence? What kind of lighting is best for your concentration? This is all important for your focus and attention, so explore different locations and figure out the best spot for your studying time!

Tip #2: Organize a schedule
Figuring out when to study is just as important as figuring out where to study. Use the planner that was given out to you and map out what days you can devote to studying. Most importantly, start studying early and don't wait until the night before. Studying at night can be difficult in itself because your brain is FULL from your day--studying the night before an exam is even worse! Pulling an all nighter or not getting enough sleep can only lead to worse habits and even worse exam grades. Organize your schedule to find conducive times for exam preparation.

Tip #3: Find habits that work
Everyone learns differently, so everyone also studies differently. Just like finding a comfortable place, find out how you study best. Do you work well studying in groups or individually? Some study techniques that work for me are making my own study guides, going over readings from class, having someone quiz me, and good ole' fashioned flashcards. 

Tip #4: Ask for help!
It's as simple as that. Remember to speak up in class with concerns, email professors with questions (not the night before!), and even visit your professor or TA during office hours to clarify anything that seems confusing. You have no reason to feel afraid or shy--professors won't bite you...I promise. Take advantage of the tutoring provided by the Learning Resource Center on the 10th floor of the library as well. 

Tip #5: Take breaks because you probably deserve it
Don't stress yourself out too much! Taking breaks to relax will probably help you study better and succeed! Use your breaks wisely--go to the gym, grab a pumpkin spice latte, meditate, call home, or take a power nap. After all that academic pressure, studying, and brain information overload, remember: you do you. 

And remember, The Academic Advising Link is open Sunday-Thursday 4-8pm! Peer Advisors will be there to answer your questions!

Also, check out Undergraduate Advising on facebook !

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