Here's How to Ace Your Next Math Test

by: BRIDGET CONLIN

You know when you have an exam coming up and you have to study, drink enough water, keep your eyebrows flawless, maintain a social life AND work out and all of a sudden it’s like you’re at the bottom of Mount Everest, figuring out how to climb to the top?? Yep, we’ve all been there. Maintaining control of your school life seems like a major task, especially when all you want to do is nap, watch Gossip Girl and eat pizza, but we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to make studying a little less terrible! When the struggle gets a little too real, follow these steps for the ultimate study sesh.

Location

The relationship one has with their bed is a pure and sacred bond. Unfortunately, it’s a less-than-ideal place to do your best studying. I have many tales to tell about attempting to do work in bed, falling asleep and feeling like I woke up in May 2023. That said, it is super important to strike the ideal balance of structure and comfort for your study zone. Light and table space are two important factors. Being near a window and having bright lights helps with focus, so you don’t totally succumb to your desire to nap. When choosing a workspace, claim your favorite table, desk or countertop to spread out and organize everything to get your work done- but make sure it isn’t a distracting, noisy spot. To make it a little cozier, light a candle or put on some nice, calm study music.

Take Breaks

No really, do it. Get up walk around, pet your dog, do a dance, stare out the window – it seems counterintuitive when you need to grind out work but taking short breaks every 30 minutes or so help you retain more information. It’s also healthy for your eyes to take a break from staring at a page or computer screen.

Brain Food

Keeping the noggin awake, focused and functional is an integral part of effective studying. Sometimes it feels like even your coffee needs coffee, so it’s important to supplement yourself with brain food! Good foods that keep your mind sharp are snacks that are high in *good* fats, such as avocados AKA avo toast, dark chocolate (YAY), blueberries and nuts (I love a good trail mix from Trader Joe’s!).

Use Your Resources

I love to ask questions. My friends often tell me I ask questions about things that have answers readily available on Google – I am well aware of Google’s almighty power, however, I always find that I get a better answer when I ask someone for their perspective or opinion on a subject. Try forming a study group with some friends in your class, so that you can all try and tackle the subject, and practice problems, together. When you get stuck, it’s likely that someone in your group will know the answer and be able to help you. In addition, your teachers are always there to help! In fact, they’re in the profession of answering questions, so give them the best you got.  

Break It Down

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when faced with a mountain of information, but it’s important to remember that you’re not trying to learn an entire class in one sitting. Instead, break down the subject matter into subtopics, separate equations, chapters, or whatever makes sense. Then, focus on each section individually, and move on once you feel comfortable. Tackling your studying piece by piece will help it feel much more bearable.

Self-Control

We’re all victims of the Internet and its bounty of entertainment. You were tagged in a hilarious new meme on Instagram, you’re about to lose your Snap streak with your bestie, news about your favorite “Riverdale” star just broke – something is always there to suck you in. One minute I’m studying, the next I’m taking a “Which Riverdale Character Are You?” quiz (Veronica, in case you’re wondering). But we must be strong in the face of its temptation and humorous ways. It’s important to set aside your phone, and any other technology that might distract you while you focus on your studying. This is where self-control apps come in. I use these apps to set time limits, and block sites and apps on my phone/computer that I know will derail any possibility of getting work done, aka… Instagram. One of my favourite self-control apps is Freedom, a one-stop shop for blocking sites and apps across all your devices (laptop and phone included!). You can even create time schedules for when each app/website is blocked.

Let us know if you have other tips to share in the comments below and always remember, you’re doing amazing sweetie.

 

 

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