Updated: Nov 29, 2019
Now that it’s the end of November, exam season at Mohawk College is rapidly approaching. And while this may be stressful for many students, the MSA is here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. To help students prepare to ace their next test, we have compiled a list of ten study techniques students can implement.
And don’t worry, these study techniques are going to be different than what one would typically find online. They are as follows.
1. Organize your study space
Organizing your study space is incredibly important for productivity. If your study space is cluttered and disorganized, your thoughts will most likely follow suit.
So, get rid of any distractions, take out only the supplies you need, and hit the books (or the computer depending on what program you’re in).
2. Find out what you actually need to know
Often, students will prepare for tests and exams by trying to study all the course material they’ve ever learned in a specific class. This may be required for some classes, however, in many cases, professors are only looking to test your knowledge on key concepts.
So, how does one identify what concepts they need to know? Talking to a professor is probably the best route to take, however, we also recommend reading the course learning plan, or looking back to your notes to identify which concepts or ideas your professor spent the most time on.
3. Try studying in a ‘different way’
It’s never a good feeling when you spend a lot of time preparing for a test or exam and the results don’t reflect your hard work. If this has happened to you in the past, for your upcoming tests and exams, try studying in a different way. If you used flashcards and that didn’t seem to work, try watching videos, or try reading directly from your class notes and then taking a practice test.
Not everyone learns in the same way, and not everyone successfully studies in the same way. What may work incredible for one person may not work at all for another. It is important to find what type of study method will best benefit you (note: multiple study methods may benefit you depending on the class you’re studying for).
4. Go to class
This tip may seem like common sense. However, sometimes students will skip classes to give themselves more time to study. But, going to class (especially to review classes) will prepare you for exams because the professor knows exactly what will be on it and can prepare you. It is a great opportunity to ask questions if you’re having trouble with any concepts, and it also will show your professors that you’re dedicated to doing well.
5. Create a schedule
Many students will often not study or put off studying due to busy schedules and/or other commitments. Creating a study schedule (that works around your day-to-day schedule) will ensure that you are setting aside the time you need, and it will also hold you personally accountable.
6. Find or make a practice test
It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing practice questions with your notes right beside you, but as you’re probably aware you often are not allowed to have notes with you during a test. A great way to prepare for this is by finding a practice list online, or having someone else in the class make one for you, and completing the test and then seeing where you went right or wrong.
This is not only a great study method but it will also show you areas in the material where you are strong and areas where you may need to put in a little extra work.
7. Understand, don’t memorize
Another trap that may be easy to fall into is just memorizing the material as opposed to understanding it. Taking the time to understand the material is more beneficial because when it comes to the actual test you’re less likely to blank and forget information.
8. Make connections
Continuing with the same idea, it can also be very beneficial if you try to make personal connections to class content (note this may not be doable for every course). It can be a lot easier to remember and understand course materials if you can relate to it in some way, or if you can create a list of ways the information could be useful to you outside of the classroom.
9. Utilize college resources
Mohawk College as a bunch of resources on campus that students can utilize for studying. Students can visit the college’s Math Learning Centre, Writing Centre, and they also have access to free peer-to-peer tutoring.
10. Study in blocks
Our last study technique is to work for specific blocks of time. Don’t just sit down and plan to work for hours on end. If you do this you will tire yourself out and overwork your brain, as a result, your studying will not be as effective.
Instead, study for a certain block of time, then give yourself (and your brain) a short break (for example, study for an hour then give yourself a ten-minute break to go on a walk, talk to a friend, etc.).
Exams and tests are nerve-wracking but by implementing these study techniques, and starting soon rather than later, they don’t have to be.
Good luck, Mohawk!
Students can take advantage of the ‘Keys to Success’ course – a free course that is available to all students under the ‘Open Offerings’ section of eLearn. Through Keys to Success, students can explore topics they are interested in and that will help improve their academic skills. Some of these topics include: time management skills, meeting deadlines and avoiding procrastination, taking notes in class, and effectively managing stress (there are eight topics in total).
If students complete all eight topics, they will receive an ‘Acknowledgement of Completion’. Students can complete this program through the eLearn course, hands-on workshops, and/or one-to-one appointments (schedules are posted on eLearn.
Also, students who are looking to brush up on their basic math skills can take advantage of the MathMinutes Video Series provided by the college.
Written by: Paige Petrovsky