Wanna Study, Buddy?

Midterms are finally winding to a close! YAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!! *proceeds to sing and dance around campus, “Sound of Music”/Disney Princess style*

Oh wait, it’s not over. (Sorry to burst any bubbles)

We still have classes, and November, a.k.a. “Term Paper Time” is almost here. Yuck. “Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimized by schoolwork” *raises hand* (And if you didn’t get that reference, please drop everything and go watch Mean Girls. Like, now.)

And here is a friendly reminder that we have more exams in December. I promise this post is not meant to bum anyone out, by the way, but midterms have, for many of us, been a means to understand what works and what doesn’t in terms of studying. We’re kind of practicing for finals. I know, it’s not the best situation for practice, but you know what? When life gives you lemons…you make something other than lemonade because lemonade is really overdone and it’s really more of a summer drink, anyway. So I’m going to put some lemon cake in the oven and tell you about what I have learned about studying from midterms.

In high school, I mostly studied by myself, with all the traditional methods: reading, quizzing myself, making mnemonics, etc. It worked out pretty well. But here’s something I’ve noticed about exams since I’ve come to UTM: the more stressful an exam seems, the less likely I am to actually spend my time studying for it. I’ll probably find a million and six ways to procrastinate, or my mind will just wander. One way to combat this? STUDY BUDDY!!! Working with other people can actually help.

Of course, there’s also the issue of meeting with your friends with the intention of studying and not actually getting any studying done. It’s a very real problem and in the end you might end up feeling kind of awful for not being productive, especially if you are time-pressed. How to combat this problem?   Well, one way is that you go to one of the FSGs (Facilitated Study Groups) happening around campus instead of just meeting your friends. Partly because there’s a good chance you won’t know many of the people that you’re studying with, and partly because these groups are facilitated, you don’t have to worry about not being productive. You may get a greater clarification about certain topics, or at the very least, you may realize what you need to study more. This is helpful since you can save time not going over what you already have a good handle on.

Here’s another study method that I never would have thought of: texting, not just for social interaction. A friend and I were texting the day before one of our exams with the intention of wallowing in mutual suffering (you know, the usual) when she suggested we make up potential exam questions. That exam was particularly scary because it was extremely unclear what the questions on it could be, so this really helped us (P.S., 2 out of 3 of our exam questions ended up being ones that we came up with during our conversation!). One great thing about this study method is that you won’t go off topic when you’re texting, partly because no one really wants to sit there typing out paragraphs on their phones (although this is also a bit of a limitation, since discussion won’t happen so easily), and partly because texting isn’t natural like conversation is. If you make a mistake or something while you text before you hit send, you can just erase it. There’s no getting distracted by when your friend makes a little mistake and you both start giggling. There’s usually not a lot of space for inside jokes to creep into your conversation that would make you go off-topic. It actually works very well.

So, be glad when your exams finish, but take what you’ve learned and be sure to use it in the future.

What study techniques seem to work for you? Feel free to comment on this post and share!

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