Fresh. Fit. Focused.: Getting back into the studying groove


Melissa Schmitz, Staff Writer

I estimate that the majority of us aren’t huge fans of studying. So here are some tips on how to start off the semester right so you won’t be spending hours cramming before your test.


Limit yourself to 0-1 “zero days” a week. A zero day is when you get absolutely nothing done. If you put in a little work every day you’re less likely to get behind. Even if it’s 5 minutes, get something done so you have more relaxation time closer to the test day crunch.

Just get it done after class. Or at least get your work started immediately. This is something everyone knows about, but not everyone does. Would you rather spend the “dead time” of your day goofing off or the night when you could be relaxing with friends?

Do it pomodoro style. The pomodoro technique is essentially 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes break, then repeat. You can make the work portion as long as you want, but try not going over an hour, or else you’ll burn out. Try to meditate, use the restroom, eat a snack, or get a drink during your break. The internet or your phone will likely distract you for too long and thwart your motivation. Try it with your friends to keep each other on task!

Make sure you have everything you need before heading to your study spot. Time is wasted having to go back to your dorm because you forgot something. This is simple, but worth the time not wasted. This includes snacks and drinks. Fuel up!

Create “fake classes” and adhere to them. Create time in your schedule where you will get certain work done each week. For example, maybe at 3:30 on Thursdays you will work on Stats problems and Mondays between your morning classes you will go through your notes. Whatever you choose to do, even if it’s general “work time”, schedule it and make it a habit! (This will also prevent cramming!)

Take 5 minutes after each class to write out a summary of the lecture. And use your own words. This will help you better retain the material and allow you to review a paragraph rather than, say, four pages of notes. Try to review the summaries at the end of the week and create a weekly summary, then a chapter summary, etc. For each additional summary you make the more you will retain and the physically less material you need to review later.

Make some flashcards, then review them before bed. This is an excellent habit to get into. You can review them during dead time, too, but if you at least make sure to review them once a day that’s better than nothing! Some courses simply require rote memorization, and this is a proven method to accomplish that!

If you have labs, start the report before you do the lab. You can at least get the background information, tables, and content questions answered beforehand. Not only will this streamline the process when you go to write the report, but it will also make it easier for you to do the lab because you’ll know what you’re doing. Also try getting the report done right after lab so it’s fresh and you’ll have time to get it checked by your professor!

Get your friends involved. Either do work together to keep each other on task or have your friends check in with you on your progress. When you know someone is expecting you to get work done you have more motivation to do it! Just be sure you’re all serious about it or else this method will not work.

Have a great semester!