How to study for exams quickly?
If you are a student, you may be wondering how to study fast. Not because you are cramming but because you have plenty of assignments to do. You want to maximize every minute of your time.
When I was in college, I experienced the same challenge too. There were times when I did not even know where to start because of the multiple projects I needed to do.
My time was stretched. I couldn’t even have a social life at that time. All I wanted was to study because I want to be a straight-A student.
I knew beforehand that achieving the high academic goal was stressful. But I did not quit. I then tried to figure out ways which I could make things easier.
I searched the effective solution online. I read a lot of scientific studies on learning and memory hoping to find some.
Luckily, I found studies that helped me sustain my goal of achieving a straight-A student status throughout my academic journey.
What I found was that you don’t have to study for long hours to attain high academic performance. What you need is an effective study strategy to achieve more in school.
If you are a student who wants to solve your academic challenge, you are in the right place. Here, I will share with you the scientific ways to study less and achieve more. Here’s how to study for exams quickly.
1. Employ many study strategies
The secret to effective study strategies lies in the brain. If you can stimulate and activate all regions of your brain, you can easily store what you learn. Learning and remembering are two different things.
Have you noticed that not all your leanings are retained in your memory? This is because the brain needs to consolidate the information before it becomes strong enough to remain in your consciousness.
But how? The best way is to use many learning styles. Read your notes, read your textbook, create a mind map, or share what you have learned to your classmates.
Doing these several study strategies allow you to activate most regions of your brain. But this does not mean that you do these techniques simultaneously. It is also important to note that the brain cannot attend to multiple stimuli at one time.
What I mean by this is that every time that you study try different methods. This can be your best key to unlock the mystery on how to study for exams quickly.
2. Study multiple subjects every day
This may be against the conventional advice that you should only focus on one thing. In terms of studying fast, you can do the opposite. The study of Rohrer (2012) suggests that studying multiple topics a day is more effective than focusing on one topic.
The reason being is that you are more likely to get confused when you focused on the topic in a day. This sounds ironic but it’s true.
So if you want to maximize your time and energy, try to study multiple subjects throughout the day.
3. Review your lessons intermittently
As I mentioned above, the secret to successful academic journey is through understanding how the brain works.
If you learned a new information, it is currently stored in the short-term memory. And because it is in the short term, it is vulnerable to distractions. Meaning, there is a high chance that you will forget it later.
If you want to retain what you read, you need to transform the short-term into a long-term memory. But how can you do that? The research of Cepeda (2008) indicates the importance of intermittent review.
If you want to get most of what you study, start early. I mean it. This technique helped me achieved my success as a student.
But how early is early? As soon as your professor gives you the reading, start studying occasionally. By doing this, you have plenty of time to study without hurry. This will also save yourself from cramming. The best part? You will be able to remember almost all the information you need during the exam.
4. Minimize distractions
If you are studying, it will be easy to get distracted. Your phone and gadget could sabotage your focus. It is always the best practice to avoid the things that could divert your attention.
Before studying, turn off your phone or TV. Try to focus on what you are intending to do. Forget social media for a moment. Do it for the duration of your study session.
5. Jot down notes by hand
Longhand writing when taking down notes during your class is more effective than the typing on the laptop. Jotting down notes using laptops was found to be ineffective according to the study of Mueller (2013).
The reason behind this is that writing down by hand initiates the initial cognitive process. Your brain tries to summarize the information.
The initial cognitive process during a longhand note-taking allows your brain to store the information more efficiently.
6. Test yourself often
Frequently testing your memory will help you a lot along the way. Whenever you can, try to answer the practice quizzes in your book. This will help you assess how much you truly understood and retained.
7. Eat eggs and chickens
One study found that people who consume food rich in choline have a higher level of memory than their counterparts. Chickens and eggs have a high content of choline you need to develop a better memory.
8. Include Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet
Omega-3 and omega-6 are found to be helpful in achieving mental focus and concentration. The foods that contain these acids are salmon, sardines, walnuts, and trout. Whenever you have a chance, include these foods in your daily diet.
Success in school depends on the right study strategy. The reality is that you don’t have to study hard to achieve your academic goal. You can actually become a straight-A student by studying less.
Now that you already know how to study for exams quickly, it is your turn to implement the techniques shared here. To learn more about studying, continue reading.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.