• Bridgid Gallagher and Isabelle Fournier Smith

Exam Study Tips

With exams just around the corner, I’m sure everyone’s stress levels are running high. It is no question it can be a very overwhelming time no matter what grade you are in, and so we’re here to provide you with all the study tips you’ll ever need in order to get the best possible results on your exams.

Study buddy/group

Having a solid group or person that you can study with is a great way to keep the exam blues away. Not only does this allow you to have someone to bounce ideas off of and ask questions, but this also means more time with friends. Although it’s important to note that it's all about finding the right person or people that you can be productive with, and sometimes that may not be your closest friend.

Talk to yourself

Studying with others not your thing? Well a great technique for when by yourself is to read and think out loud. I know this may sound weird at first, but I can personally say it works like a charm. All you have to do is act as if you are teaching someone about the topic, and once you do this a few times you should find yourself not even needing your notes to help anymore.

Get in the (study) mood

A common thing that most people do while studying is listen to music as it’s perfect for drowning out distractions. Now while everyone is different when it comes to what music keeps them focused, we recommend trying genres such as classical or smooth jazz this exam season. Studies have shown that these types of genres help with relaxation and diminishing stress, and can increase dopamine levels. So if you are someone who finds it hard to concentrate while studying, this may be the tip for you!

Bring some colour into your life

Colour coding can be a really effective way to memorize things. You can start to associate different terms or concepts with a colour and eventually you will have everything organized and memorized before you know it. It’s also nice to rewrite your notes and highlight important pieces of information so that they stick out to you. Using colourful pens is a great way to group together certain sections of information.

Quiz yourself

One of my personal favourite things to do when studying is making flashcards or doing things like quizizz. This way you can actually test what you know and what you still need to learn. With flashcards in particular you can have two separate piles. Once you answer a question correctly it can go in one pile, and if you aren’t sure about an answer put it into your other pile for review. This way you can slowly filter through the things you know, and what you still need to learn. Repetition is really important, especially if you need to memorize something, so go through your flashcards until you're confident about every answer. Quizizz is another great resource because you can put together your own game, or even find premade quizizz for you to use. If you do use a premade quiz just make sure that you verify the information before using it.

Pomodoro Technique

Are you someone who gets sidetracked easily while studying? Do you find yourself working past the point that you no longer are effectively studying at all? Well if so, the Pomodoro Technique may be the one for you. Essentially how it works is you study one topic for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break, repeating as many times as desired. After four sets of 25, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. This is a super effective way to study, that promotes productivity and helps train yourself to keep focused for longer periods of time. If implemented correctly, I guarantee you will see awesome results.

Get moving

Take a break to get a workout in, whether it’s a walk or full on boot camp. Exercise can improve your brain's processing speed and even boost your mood so that you’re more refreshed when back to studying.

Focus on self care

It is easy to get caught up in your studying and neglect things like sleep, water and nutrition, but trust me, you are much more productive when you treat your body well. Sleeping is especially important right before an exam, so don’t leave all of your cramming to the night before.

Find your perfect place

Try to find an area that you can have your undivided attention to do just your work. It is also helpful to keep your phone out of the space when you are working so there are no distractions. You should also avoid working in your bed so that when it comes time to sleep, your brain associates your bed with rest and not work.


Organization is honestly key when it comes to studying effectively and efficiently. Before you start your studying, make sure your work space is clean, that your binder and notes are organized according to subject and maybe even make a to-do list if that’s your thing. I promise you that once your area is visually organized, it will save you from a lot of wasted time and added stress.

Pre-Sleep Studying

Now this may not work for all, but research shows that 10-15 mins of reading study notes before bed can actually be very beneficial. The reason for this is because in general while we sleep our brain is working on storing memories from the day. Therefore by studying just before falling asleep the information is fresh in your brain and is more likely to be stored as a solid memory.

Distributed practice

This technique revolves around spacing out your studying in little bits at a time over several days or weeks.

This means that you need to start studying as early as possible. Do not wait until the night before to start cramming, you’ll be overwhelmed and end up exhausted. Try to also break up your studying into different blocks of time for different subjects.

Treat yourself

This is not so much a tip but more so a reward for all the stress and hard work that comes with studying. It can be a very emotionally, mentally and physically draining time when exam season arrives, so it’s important to treat yourself in the process. Buy those gummy bears, or ice cream that you have been craving because you deserve it!

We hope that we were able to provide you with some new tips, and good luck to everyone this exam season! If there is one thing you take from this article, it should be to find whatever works best for you, but most importantly start early. Don’t make the mistake of leaving all of your studying to last minute, it will leave you stressed and most likely unsuccessful.