Now that we are nearing the end of the Spring 2021 semester, the dreaded part of the
semester is coming: Finals Week. I know that we have spent our entire lives studying for exams
like these, but have you ever questioned if your study habits were maximizing your performance
results? Have you ever questioned why you didn’t do so well on your exam despite spending so
many hours studying? The answer might be that, although you are studying for long hours, you
are studying hard instead of studying smart.
There is an old rule-of-thumb that says that each student should devote at least two hours
of study for each hour of class time that they have. This number adds up quickly; for students
taking at least fifteen credits, their total study time could add up to more than thirty hours of
study time a week. Being in Baruch College for two semesters now, I know that this college is
filled with driven go-getters who either have their own side hustle or work in a part-time
job/internship. These students might not have the time to completely devote themselves to
constant studying; thus, that is why it is so important to study smart using the following
1. Create a study lesson plan on your calendar
This part of studying smartly is one of the most important parts. Depending on when your
tests are, the study lesson plan that you make will be different for every test. By creating a study
plan on your calendar, you will be able to see all the concepts that you need to study and prevent
procrastination. Even if you only start studying a few days before, using a study plan will help
you organize your schedule and effectively plan your time. Just note that the earlier that you start
studying, the better it will be.
2. Study in short intervals with breaks rather than one long session
It is a misconception that it is better to study for one long session so that you can get all
the concepts in. By studying for hours upon hours, it is very easy for your brain to begin to
wander off and forget information. Instead, try to have impactful study sessions that last from 30
to 45 minutes with a break in between each session. This short amount of time allows for your
brain to maintain attention and retain information.
3. Practice, practice, practice
While only reading the textbook might make you feel like you are retaining information,
more often than not, you will only be recalling the information from the beginning and the end of
what you read. If your class requires the application of concepts, it is much better to do and re-do
all of the sample questions given during class and in homework. It also helps if your teacher provides you with previous exams. Take full advantage of these resources so that you can master
the concepts easily.
4. Find the best study environment for you
Since we have been studying at home for such a long time, it is also important to know
where you study the best at. If you find that studying in your room always makes you want to
either go on your phone or lay on your bed, then switch environments! There are many places
where you can go while remaining socially distanced and safe from Covid-19: the library, a cafe,
the park, etc. Take this time to find which environment works best for you and stick with it.
Of course, creating the perfect study plan is not as linear and straightforward as it seems.
Every person will have a different plan depending on how they best retain information. So with
these techniques, I hope that you are able to find your perfect study plan and ace all your finals!