5 Tips to Ace Your Next Exam

Taking Small Steps Towards Big Goals


Design by Sally Lee.

The best way to study isn’t simply toiling. Like the famous saying “work smarter, not harder,” we all want to get the most out of doing the least. Some say this is impossible, but with the right motivation and methods, it soon becomes possible. To transform the unachievable to conceivable, these are my 5 tips that will help you study smarter.

The Color “Green”

Various research shows why and how using the color green can improve your performance at work, home, and school. Low-wavelength colors result in calming effects. Not only do they remind you of nature, but they are most gentle on the eyes. Therefore, it further boosts your concentration and increases clarity. You can take action right now by using green highlighters, placing succulent plants on your desk, or changing your desktop background to a greener image. Now, go grab something green.

Linking Information

Our brain doesn’t remember facts, it remembers connections. To rephrase, an idea is more likely to be retrieved from memory when an image or a story is attached to it. For example, rather than studying word after word, try using your imagination: create a scenery or a story. Some people call this specific technique “building a memory palace”. Another method connects information in a chronological order. This enables the former information to reinvoke the latter. Besides, people find it far easier to recall actions over definitions. 

Start to Continue

Getting your assignments done leads to excelling on your exams. However, we tend to procrastinate and because we find it harder to start than to continue. So here’s a little secret: after your class, as soon as you receive your homework, answer the first few questions or even just write your name on the paper. The point is to do the minimum. By doing this, when you open your assignment even after a couple of hours of TV, it would be much easier to get started. I guarantee you that you will be able to cross out all the tasks on your to-do list.

Ditch your Distractions

Your parents or teachers have nagged you without end about this cliche. However, their repetition carries an important message. Students who study with their phones out of their visual field are able to focus better, thus receiving higher scores on their tests. On the other hand, students with devices within arms reach were constantly distracted from finishing their to-do lists. In fact, not only phones or laptops, but any other type of irrelevant gadgets on your desk can be distracting. This leads me to my next point: superior surroundings.

The Perfect Environment

Your study setting is a crucial element that determines your performance. This is why making the ideal space shows significant changes in your results. The first way to achieve this is by separating your work and rest area. Our brains tend to remember doing specific actions in a certain location, and this leads our body to adapt to our environment. Thus, dividing the space for studying and relaxing will help you elevate your concentration. Sleep in one room and study in a different spot in your house. Don’t combine the two. Another method is by using sunlight, which is proven to be the right amount of light that is bright enough but not too intense for your eyes. Try to study as much during the daytime, and do it somewhere with lots of windows and sunshine.

Right now, studying may be one of the top priorities in your life. And that is most likely why you read this article: desperate for advice or out of innocent curiosity. I’ve listed some tips that may help you make the rest of your academic years easier, but always be aware that the shortest and easiest way isn’t always the best. You’ve got this. Now, let’s open that assignment you were procrastinating.