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What’s the Best Way to Study for a Test?

You may have your study routine down pat, and you may make great grades. Even if you’re pulling all A’s, you may be able to improve your study experience by making a few tweaks with some scientifically-proven study methods, according to the blog of the State University of New York.

First, don’t cram. It’s much better to study in short intervals over a period of time. Try 20-50 minutes at a time with a five to 10 minute break in between sessions. This will help boost your long-term retention of the material you have to learn.

Take a walk around the block or jump on the elliptical machine for about 20 minutes. Cardiovascular exercise can actually improve your memory and give you the energy you need to study more efficiently. While you’re at it, eat well. Oatmeal, or other foods high-carb, high-fiber foods that don’t digest quickly are great for breakfast on the day of the test. When you study, eat healthy snacks, like fruit, yogurt, or almonds. Include as many vegetables and fruits in your diets as you can, and avoid a diet too high in fat and too low in carbs, as, according to a study at the University of Oxford, it can decrease your ability to pay attention and how fast you think.

Move from you usual study spot to a different place for a change. Doing so can increase your ability to remember what you need to learn. Keeping a study routine in a certain spot is not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Avoid studying by just highlighting and underlining and then summarizing. Instead, ask yourself questions based on the material you’re learning, and try to answer them. You can do this by making flashcards, or you can make your own test in the format that you think the professor will use, maybe multiple-choice or essay.

Ask yourself what you think you’re going to learn from a particular chapter you’re reading, and write down questions you have as you read to see if your questions are answered. This makes for more engaged reading.

If you study with music on, then stick to music without words. The fewer distractions you have, the better you will be at remembering what you need to know. You can also download some study tools that help you stay focused on your phone. Focalfilter lets you block all social media sites while you study, and apps like Studyblue or Quizlet upload materials or notes on the cloud or make flashcards to use on your smartphone.

Shake your old study routine up a bit, and work some new habits in to improve your overall study experience.

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