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Updated: October 24, 2022 @ 2:11 pm
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With midterms creeping around the corner, it’s important for students to establish healthy study habits before test season to avoid struggling and cramming everything the night before exams.
Computer science sophomore Jose Castillo said his study habits have been poor lately. Stress and not understanding the material have caused him to stop studying.
“I’ve been trying to change that,” Castillo said. “Trying to study a little bit every day, a couple of minutes, even like 20 minutes, trying to put my phone away because that’s something [that] has affected me throughout the year.”
Teresa Montez, accounting lead peer educator and accounting and information systems senior, said she sees people who view studying as a form of punishment. Because people think they didn’t do well on an exam, they need to punish themselves by opening a book and staring at it, she said.
“If you view studying as a punishment, that is the worst. Your brain will just reject it, [and] you won’t learn anything,” Montez said.
Stopping viewing studying this way requires a change in mindset, she said. Instead of beating themselves up over missed questions, students should focus on identifying what they did wrong and ask professors how to improve.
Montez said many students stop when they identify their mistakes instead of reaching out to teachers and professors to see how they can improve.
However, there is such a thing as too much studying, she said. If students are getting to the point where they’re not eating, sleeping and not taking care of themselves, they should stop and take a break.
Experimental psychology doctoral student Philip Peper said a common mistake is being distracted by unrelated websites or phone usage. An important part of effective studying, he said, is to focus on the subject matter. He said getting plenty of rest can help students remember the material and encode information.
“A good night’s sleep is important for encoding information,” Peper said. “So learning that information [at] the outset, but then sleeping well before an exam will help you actually retrieve that information from memory when you need it.”
To make studying a habit, he said it must be formed through consistency.
If you pair studying with something you do every day, students will find themselves studying while eating lunch or working out, he said. Peper also suggests students reward themselves for studying.
Montez said her department in the tutoring center encourages students to come in, even if it’s just to work quietly.
“I think that really helps people calm down because it gives them that reassurance, for one, that if they get stuck on something, they’re not just stuck on it. Someone’s there to help them,” she said.
Students can spend an hour a week studying for a class they’re equipped for and five hours a week for another class. It’s all about finding a balance, Montez said.
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