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    Studying for Success: How to Elevate Your Study Sessions

    Adriana Rizzuto

    The weight of an exam creeping up can be daunting. We spend so much time in our classes, and seeing the effort paying off is a rewarding feeling for any student. Setting ourselves up for success doesn’t need to be a negative experience. Sometimes it may be hard to push ourselves to do the work, but there are some steps that I’ve found to be beneficial when studying.

    The first thing I like to do is to plan what I need to cover each day. Find out what content will be covered in your exam and try to spread it out over the number of days you have to study evenly. For example, you know chapters 1-4 will be on the exam, and your professor has given you a practice exam. You have 5 days to prepare. Study one chapter per day, and on day 5, do a practice exam or get extra practice on a topic you may feel weaker in. This makes it so that you’re not cramming and that you don’t feel overwhelmed at the last minute. It’s nice to have enough time to feel confident in the material you need to know.

    Another way to avoid distraction is to declutter first to promote focus and lessen environmental distractions. Try setting time aside before you complete any studying to ensure you give yourself a clean, neat environment to concentrate in. When a space is clear and well-kept, you’re less likely to feel distracted by things that may be out of place. Deep into your studying session, you’re less likely to procrastinate by cleaning if your space is already clean.

    It can sometimes be hard to motivate yourself to sit down and focus on what you need to do. There are so many other things that feel way more fun compared to studying. It could be playing games, baking, going out to eat, watching shows, or reading a fun book. I like to use those things as motivation. These fun activities can be powerful drivers towards a goal if they’re things you really look forward to. When I finish a certain amount of studying, I might reward myself by watching a couple episodes of a show I like. Doing this has personally helped me feel like I have control and balance with schoolwork and life. Preparing for a test doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and you can still have time to yourself. By using fun things as a reward, there doesn’t need to be guilt over not getting things done. It encourages you to focus for a certain amount of time, then to fully enjoy things you enjoy afterwards.

    Finally, talk to yourself with kindness. Be your best hype man. Maybe you have a lot of material you’re going over. Try to appreciate all that you’re learned and how far you’ve come. It feels a lot better than approaching a difficult situation with dread. If you’re stressed, don’t forget to breathe. Find calm, then continue with what you were doing. Through finding calm when dealing with stress, we can be resilient.

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