This week I’ve been writing about exam-taking strategies, and I’d like to conclude my mini-series by addressing some of the studying myths that float around the university hallways.
We’ve all done it. You have only a few hours left before the exam, and there is still so much to learn and review. The problem with cramming is that you can’t stuff your brain like cabbage leaves. It won’t retain the information. However, it can make you too tired to take the test, which may cause you to forget what you knew pretty well before. It’s not worth it.
Myth #2: I’ll study every awaking hour to outperform the competition.
While it’s tempting to keep going and going, it is actually more efficient if you study for about 50 minutes and then take a 10-minute brake. There is some magic about 50 minutes. Your brain will like that pattern.
Myth #3: Burning the midnight oil is what all students do before the exams.
It’s only natural to sacrifice some sleep for the good of knowledge, isn’t it? Wrong. Studies that registered brain activation patterns of sleep-deprived participants showed that they performed worse on complex cognitive tasks when compared to rested participants. Make sure you get enough sleep before the tests.
Myth #4: You need complete silence to study well.
It may be true for some people who are very sensitive to sound distractions. However, listening to Baroque music like Mozart can improve your learning.
Myth #5: Everybody learns in the same way.
In reality, we all learn differently and need different studying techniques to capitalize on our strengths. See my previous post on multiple intelligences. Some students need pictures and flowcharts to improve understanding. Others may benefit from discussing the material with their classmates. Identify your learning style and adjust your studying strategy accordingly.
Finally, here is some truth to consider: positive attitude improves your performance. Give the Universe a holler that you are ready for that test.