Feeling frustrated? Upset? Anxious of not performing well for your final exams? Breaking into a sweat just about now? As a student, these are NOT unfamiliar terrains you’ve got to maneuver in schools of any kind. But don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

When it comes to excelling your exams, there is no surefire way to beat the race. One study from Scientific Reports shows that a lack of proper sleep is absolutely detrimental to you nailing those test papers, according to researchers. Again, bad habits are all around us, but what’s truly important here is to find those good habits that can make you stay focused, ready and equipped for your mission in school.

As a grad student myself, I’ve had lots of guidance, tips and tricks thrown my way into excelling my grades. What I want is to share with you, dear readers, just a few of those tips (& tricks!) that actually worked for me. Read on!

1. Arousal & Mood: Keep it Balanced

Everything in life has a balance. Yin and Yang.

The same goes to our moods, it is absolutely crucial for us to maintain a sort of equilibration balance between our desires and arousals. What I mean when I say this is to understand that studying is a lifelong journey. I know we all want the easy way out – to just luck out in life, have sufficient finances and pretty much throw our legs up on the table. Friends, the only way to achieve that is through a good education – not just good, but a happy, fulfilling one.

Whenever you begin to study, do so in a good mood. Watch your favorite movies right before that, listen to your favorite podcast or even do some gardening and come to your study table and begin it all in a calm, collected and peaceful mood. Don’t study when you’re not calm. You’d definitely not retain the information – if anything it might make you forget it more.

2. Read & Write, Just Do it On Paper

This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. I just can’t seem to stress this enough.

When you attempt to write down what you learn during classes or lessons, you visualize the ideas forming on the notepaper, and trust me you’ll understand the meaning and the complexity of the ideas discussed at hand. Whether its for business, engineering, sciences or even Mathematics, write down, take those notes. You’ll see them come to life, whenever you want to get ready for your exams. I would strongly advise against using a laptop just because it’s a machine – and you’re simply typing that valuable information down to store in a virtual site where it’s just not so natural for you to access.

But please, take down those notes. Don’t be that guy.

3. Study Groups Are Meant to Recall Information

Sure, study groups are a fun way to learn and even interact with your close buddies and classmates. That’s all fine, in fact – it’s proven that when you study with a group of focused, like-minded people, you’re able to double your learnings by just knowing things that you might have missed out in your solo, private study sessions by yourself.

The most important thing here goes back to the group of friends you study with. Are they focused and on the same path as you? Or are they doing this out of a necessity and don’t really see these sessions as a way to learn even more?

That answer will be up to you. But I do guarantee, studying with like-minded people is a really great way to retain new information, recall those that you’ve probably missed out (we’re not all perfect!) and basically just to see that you’re not in this fight alone. Working hard is difficult, but when you have the right support group, you’ll see the difficulty dissipate away.

4. Note-taking during Lessons Are A Must

Please, please, please – take those notes. I have never encountered a smart Alec that has not jotted down lessons or points during classes and then live to ace his/her tests.

Sit back, relax your mind and jot down anything the lecturer says that sparks just a tiny bit of your interest. Trust me, those make a difference when you’re looking back at your notes. You might remember the feeling you felt when you were in that class, you might remember the extra pop-up tips and tricks your lecturer gave you that day. Who knows?

That definitely worked right on for me, if there’s one point that I’d suggest is to take notes. And take colorful ones! Do mind maps, draw those ideas in different shapes and sizes. The mind is a supreme and powerful organ. Use it to your advantage!

5. Focus and Get Your Calibration Right

What are you doing this for? Are you studying in your course to satisfy your parents long-lost desire of being a doctor? Are you doing this out of your own passion and curiosity?

Those questions are vital to be answered, and the only way to do that is to dig deep down, inside of you. Mainly, who are you doing this for?

When you’re in it to win it for yourself, you’d know that sacrifices and failures can only make you stronger, better and more prepared to pass that finish line. If you’re just looking for the easy way out, and that passing your grades is as simple as just going through school, answering well and just praying to a higher power that it solves your worries, then I have some bad news for you – that might not work all of the time.

You’ve got to remain focused. Consistent. Dedicated. Studying is a lifelong activity, there is no point in our lives where we’re able to just throw our feet up and assume we know everything there is to know in this life that we have. We’ve got to keep learning, keep moving, keep acting. Else, we just might get missed behind. That’s something we all absolutely do not want.

Wrapping Up…

Now that you have those 5 tips in mind, the sky is really the limit when it comes to studying smarter, not harder. Push those boundaries and embrace the beauty of being a student – we’re only here once!

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