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3 Effective Methods to Study for Exams

Studying for exams can be a hard thing to do, especially if you fail to start early enough. Here are our top 3 study systems, and our top 3 generic study tips to help you get a better mark, with less time spent studying. Each study system works best with different courses, so be sure to try them all.

Study Methods: These work best if you initiate them at least 1 week prior to the exam.

1. Flash cards. Probably one of the oldest methods, flash-cards are great for courses such as Biology where you need to memorize a ton of terms. You can also write out theories, or diagrams. Write the flash cards as soon as you can, and then go over them 1-2 times each day, up until the exam. You should be guessing 95-100% correct by the end. If not, go through them more.

2. Mind maps and Holistic Learning – studying using mind maps is a great way to review courses with a ton of related information, such as geography. By creating and reviewing mind maps of course concepts, you will be able to recall hopefully the entire course from a single term. (e.g. topographic > UTM grid > true north > glaciers > glaciation ).

3. Condense, then memorize. This is a technique that I recently learned from my English teacher. Basically, you write out everything you need to know for the course onto paper. You will likely have 10+ pages. The next day, condense these four pages. Do not remove any content, but instead remove unnecessary language. You should be able to recall all of the information from the original 10+ sheets by looking at the new four. The next couple days, repeat this step, but fit it onto a single page, divided into four sections. It may take a couple days of reviewing the sheets, but you should be able to recall all 10+ pages of information simply by looking at that page. The final step is to memorize the single sheet, so you can visualize it in your head during the exam.

Generic Study Tips: No matter how you study, use these to improve your performance on judgment day.


1. Don’t cram the night before the exam. It is proven that studying a large amount of material the night before an exam is very unproductive. Not only do you fail to learn anything, but you also lose sleep, which brings me to my next point.

2. Get a good night’s sleep the night before, and eat well. There’s nothing worse that going into an exam after staying up until 4am the previous night, eating two boxes of pizza. A good amount of sleep and nutritious food will help you concentrate during the exam.

3. Do not go into the exam stressed out. Consider doing something fun like watching a movie or going out to lunch with friends before your exam. The key to this is to know your material, and don’t rely on cramming 4 hours prior to the actual exam. Keeping your body and mind relaxed will improve your recall, comprehension, and thought process during the exam.

Technorati Tags: Student Tips, Exams, Study, Students, Academic

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10 Responses to “3 Effective Methods to Study for Exams”

  1. [...] GearFire: 3 Effective Methods to Study for Exams [...]

  2. e8aa4a010808 says:



  3. anil kumar yadav says:

    i am a student preparing the entrance exam for MBBS.i am not able concontrate on my studies more than one and half hour.And also i get forget very soon what i can you help me please?

  4. wow, great post. In my experience (after studying 7 years of law and psychology at university), the best strategy for me has been creating colourful mindmaps (with loads of exaggerated crazy images) and then converting the ideas on the mindmaps into flash cards.

    I also make sure I do some good exercise during my exam period. This helps to clear my mind and get focused.

  5. antet says:

    i got lazy in reading my review notes,exam is in a month,
    forget things easily.what should i do?

  6. Nasim Shaikh says:

    the matter mentioned by you is quite helpful but could you elaborate a little more on the mehods for memorising the content in the subject

  7. puspa Ojha says:

    I felt quite helpful & interesting after facing your methods and tips.I hope my exams will go better.

  8. Zaza says:

    hae you in your second 1st step, under generic study tips, it says studying the night before the exam, that’s not true, i don’t think it should be proven because not everyone does that. Some people do that because that’s how it works for them, pressure, it helps energize the mind to focus and while sleeping your memorizing the things in your mind, and when waking up, you can remember most works that you have studied for.

    But overal, its ok, i mean your steps are pretty good

  9. puja kumar says:

    i m a student in my final year in college, i forget thing very soon and i get tired very eaily when i study .i need help

  10. Colours always work for me. The more colourful my notes are the faster I learn. I also lean faster when I write down things I have to learn. Very useful article, thanks for posting.

  11. Naensi says:

    im trying to prepare myself for the final exam, and I keep on forgeting what I learnt. please help me coz it really inportant. it might be my way to the university.

  12. nats says:

    i cant study nything. i get distracted