How to Study and get Straight A+ in Every Class

How to study for tests and exams effectively, you ask? There are many ways to absorb information depending on the way you learn.

Sure, there are little learning hacks you can take but that still involves a process to follow. The best way to learn something is through stimulating your senses by surrounding yourself with the thing you’re trying to learn.

Repetition is key!

Just like anything, creating a set habitual pattern to follow takes time and patience especially when it comes to different learning techniques.

There is no faster or more efficient way than to use the conventional and boring traditional methods of learning. Write down notes in words you can understand (your own little language) then reread them or, if you can, physically do that thing.

Yes, there are limitation when it comes to numbers and other theory work but you can use a pen and paper to write it down.

Although that’s a very simplified way of explaining it, it’s the easiest way to understand how to learn something efficiently.

Different ways to study for a test

how to study tips

There are different ways to study for a test but depending on the depth of the subject. You need multiple ways to absorb the information you’re trying to learn.

Below are the ways to learn something within the shortest amount of time with the most impact.

The last tip is my ultimate secret weapon to mastering the techniques to study. 

1. Take notes about the topic you’re learning

Yes, you may have done this and yes, you may already know writing notes is essential.

It’s highly advised to use pen and paper because of the stimulation it causes on the brain. It makes new neuron pathways for information to process.

Each time you use a pen to write, it sends signals to the brain to create new or strengthen synapses about the subject you’re taking. The information is physically embedded into your brain.

Using a laptop won’t stimulate the brain cells as much as physically writing things out, but it’s easier to keep things organised since everything is digitized which takes up less physical space.

2. Use them notes!

There’s a reason why you were taught to use notes! Re-read what you’ve written to feed your mind about the thing you’re trying to learn.

Because you wrote it, you’ll already know why you wrote it and where to go from there. Use the notes on the same day you wrote them so you can reinforce the information you’ve just learned.

Pro tip - leave a space at the bottom or somewhere on the page to sum up important parts OR use a different color pen to write a brief summary about each of the paragraphs.

3. Your friendly neighbourhood, High-Lighter

Repetition is key!

Highlight quotes and important parts you need to remember. Have different colored highlighters as a reference to the thing you need to remember.

​Highlighters aren't necessary to study effectively, but it can come in hand when you need to find something fast. Having a phrase or an important fact singled out can save you those tedious seconds of going through you notes of text book.

Either highlight the different sections in your text book or/and your notes.

Having these parts highlighted helps you find information faster when you’re going over your notes and especially when you’re revising for a test or exam.

4. Break time

Let’s be realistic, no one in the world can work for eight consistent hours without a break. Heck, I can’t even work for an hour without doing something else.

Let the information process by having a break. Treat yourself to a small reward; it can be anything you want.

Remember to have breaks in between study or work sessions. Your brain needs to focus on different things to allow the built-up information to process.

5. Re-read them notes again... out loud!

Okay, re-reading your notes again, and again, might be tedious but it’s a way to strengthen those newly created information highways (neurons) in your head.

After you read your notes a few times, it’ll stay in your mind for a little longer than it did the last time you read them.

A little useful trick I found was reading my notes out loud. It helps me retain more information with a little less reading. I found this neat hack when I was scanning through my text book.

I was reading things out loud to myself because I was about to start studying and for some reason, I could recall a little more information while reading.

6. Games games games!

You may have heard something along the lines of “turn the thing you’re learning into a game!” or other variations. The reason why you hear it all the time is because it works.

What kind of games, you ask?

  • Flash cards
  • Quizzes
  • Mini tests

These are just a few of the most common types of study games. An alternative to making games are to find already created games in your topic.

If you follow that a few times a day over a week, it’s hard to forget about the things you’re learning.

7. Have short naps

That's right, my super secret weapon to gain the most out of my study sessions, short naps.

A short nap helps refresh the mind and energizes the body. It's a marvelous feeling after a short sleep.

A nap shouldn't be longer than 15 - 20 minutes, otherwise it's not a nap. If you sleep longer than the amount given, it could disrupt your sleeping patterns. 

Another tip - have some caffeine before you nap.

If you're feeling low on energy, have a cup of coffee or a small can of energy drink. 

You should feel an extra kick mixed with better motivation when you wake up.

How to study and remember for exams and tests

ways to study for a test

How do you study and remember for exams and tests, you ask? Repetition is key! I’ve written about other study methods to add to learn better and faster which I’ll go over below. The techniques you learn should be practiced and used whenever you have something to study or when you have work.

It’ll help you later in life in a team environment, working for yourself or working in general.

Separate your normal environments from your learning/working environment

Separating your normal environment from your working environment helps your brain recognize the different situations and switches on “work” mode when you enter in your study environment.

Consistent timing

Having a consistent time to study gets your body into the rhythm of work. Your mind needs routines to follow; otherwise it goes wacky.

Like sleeping, when you don’t go to bed on a set schedule, you start to feel weird and fall asleep at random times.

So, set a time to study in a nice and cozy environment.

Have everything prepared in your study environment

The last thing you want to have a piece of missing equipment or missing resources like your notes. Make sure you have everything in your study place or be ready to take it with you.

It’s quite irritating when you’re in the middle of writing only to find out your pen is missing ink, or you forgot the power chord for your laptop. Plan everything you need an hour before you leave or go into your study area.

Cut out the distractions

how to study for exams

Distractions are one of the most important things to remember because distractions can be DEADLY. Okay, maybe not deadly but they’re called “distractions” for a reason (they distract you.)

So how do you define a distraction?

Distractions are things that takes your attention away from an important task.

You need to remember that.

Distractions are things that takes your attention away from an important task.

Repetition is key!

No one can tell you the important thing. Only you can deduce what is and isn’t important.

I’ve added some tips on my good habits for students article.

Hide that phone!

Put your phone on silent or turn it off and put it somewhere safe and sound.

Out of sight, out of mind.

When you cut out the distractions and focus on the task at hand, you should naturally adjust to concentrating on your work.

If you don’t trust yourself with your phone give it to someone else to look after. If you don’t trust anyone… Destroy your phone (just joking), put it somewhere safe and sound.

Repetition is key!

Dedicated profile for work (my productivity hack)

Create a dedicated profile for work when you login into your computer. When it’s time to work, log out of your main profile and enter in your “work” profile. It might take a little bit of time to set up but your productivity levels will go through the roof!

Personally, can’t work on my own profile because it’s full of my stuff. I started moving everything into different folders and organizing my desktop but still found it inefficient and distracting. Then I remembered there was an option to make another Windows profile.

Use your devilish powers of teaching

how to study for exams

Okay, so when you don’t know your stuff it’s hard to teach, right? Not necessarily.

If you’ve ever sat through a class or a lecture, then you would have picked up a thing or two. It might be the smallest of things, but that little thing is usually a subsection of a bigger topic.

Teaching someone what you already know forces you to bring that information up from the depths of your mind and explain it in different ways so the other person can understand which also helps you view it from a different perspective.

Teaching someone else a concept or how to do a task uses most of your senses which strengthen the knowledge you already have.

If you’ve been to class, you might already know a couple of things on a certain subject. You learned from just being in the environment, via osmosis.

Google's definition of osmosis -​

definition of osmosis

Even if you know very little about a topic, guide that person/people to what you already know.

Repetition is key!

On the other hand, if you know nothing about the topic at hand, you might have to do some research or brush up on the thing you’re unsure about.

Ways of remembering in school, university or life in general

There are many ways and different techniques to remember things. According to research, memory is something that can be taught.. very easily. There’s the traditional way and the visualisation way.

Seeing something (visualizing) and putting into story is one of my favourite ways to remember small, fast things like grocery shopping or remembering where you parked. But when it comes to studying in-depth subjects like higher level maths or science, it’s more effective to use both visualisation with repetition.

Repetition is key!

You might have read this once or twice in the above, “repetition is key!” … But you get the point, right?

Repeating something over and over solidifies those neural pathways for a certain amount of time. It’s especially useful when exams and tests are a few weeks away.

If you’re a typical student, you’ll be cramming the night before the day exam or test day. The best strategy for learning fast is repetition, repetition and repetition. Did I mention repetition?

Visualization

When I say visualization, I don’t mean some spiritual mumbo jumbo, no. I mean associate the thing you’re learning with different things around you so you can recall it when you need to.

The best way I can put it is, attach something you’re learning to something you already know and make it outrageous as you can (excellent for memorization).

For example, if you were learning about the periodic table, you would associate it with something you already know.

For example -​

learnign techniques for students periodic_table-black

Boring


how to study Periodic-Table

Not so boring


learning techniques for students periodic table pokemon

That's me so me! Credits: Kuinala


periodic_table_of_superheroics_learning techinques for students

I know this off by heart! Credits: daerave

Personalize the information and make it your own so you're able to understand it better. Add visual parts and attach it to something you like or already know.

Understanding your learning style

different learning styles

There are many learning styles and different combinations you can use with each style. It’s a strength to know how you learn because you can tailor your learning to suit your best style. 

Check here if you want to read more on the different learning styles.

To keep things as simple as possible, I’ll be using the VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic) model.

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinaesthetic

Visual Learner

The visual learner learns through sight and visualizing how something is done. It can range from seeing how somebody does a certain thing or they can visualize it in their minds.

Visual learners can see and imagine how something will look and model after that. Visual people can see and understand when there are bright, vibrant colors with large images.

Auditory learner

Auditory learners learn by hearing and listening to people and different things that range from music and different sounds. They memorize things easier if there’s a certain sound involved, especially when someone speaks to them or within a group discussion.

Auditory learners learn through talking to people. Not just that, they also learn by talking and speaking their mind.

Kinaesthetic learner

Kinaesthetic people learn through by doing. They have to be put into a situation and physically do a task to understand it better. It can range from physical work to writing something down.

Kinaesthetic learners learn best by jumping into a situation and figuring out where to go from there. They have to immerse themselves into a situation to learn how everything fits together by seeing the connections of every process.

Why you need to know this

Knowing your learning style is a strength. If you know how you learn, you're able to do more of things that help you learn faster.

For example, if you know you’re a visual learner, you can make different visual images for yourself. For auditory learners, talk to more people about the thing you’re trying to learn. And for kinaesthetic learners, just jump in.

It’s best to surround yourself with the thing you’re trying to understand because it’ll use all three of the learning styles. You’ll stimulate your senses when you immerse yourself with the thing you’re trying to learn.

Can you be more than one?

Yes, at the very basics we’re all a combination of all three (this goes for any other known learning models). Without these three learning styles, we can’t learn effectively.

It’s about finding the learning style that suits you the best. Stick to your strengths. When you know how to you learn, you’ll learn faster and retain more information.

Final words

how to study for exams in two weeks

If you want to study effectively, you should have a routine to prime your mind into the habit in a cozy environment with all your needed equipment.

Cut out the distractions to produce the best stuff you can. Remember - Distractions are things that takes your attention away from an important task."

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

If you’re new to studying, it will take some time, but sure enough, if you spend enough time, you will form new habits that’ll bring you to success. You might be a super genius that’s able to retain any and all information, but for us mere mortals, we have to take our time to learn and study.

Sarah A