Wellbeing Tip: Study Techniques

Feb 27, 2024 | SAMU Wellbeing

Finals are creeping in. If you find yourself alarmed or stressed due to the amount of information you must take in during exam season, especially in such a short time, then I have some strategies that might help.

First things first, you need to have the right conditions internally and externally to help retain this information. Below are just a few habits worth trying:

  • Get enough sleep and make sure to take breaks if needed. If you don’t get enough sleep and overwork yourself, it can be difficult to focus and retain what you learn.
  • Stick with an environment that works. If you find that you end up sleeping in your bedroom whenever you study there, then I think it’s time to find a different environment.
  • Develop a routine. Developing a routine can help decrease your chances of procrastinating. It can be difficult to start a routine but as time goes on and you develop a long-term habit, it becomes second nature.

Now that we have those habits explored, below are study techniques that I have tried, and feel might help:

Feynman Technique

This is probably my most favorite way to study a concept. Basically, imagine explaining a concept you just learned to a younger population (like a sixth grader), then you gradually improve your explanations till you’ve fully mastered the concept. Sometimes, if you find it awkward to talk to an imaginary sixth grader (i.e. Talking to yourself), finding a fur baby, friend, or even peer in the class to do this is a great substitute.

Leitner System

If you love making flash cards, then this is the study tip for you! Once you’ve made your flash cards, online or physical ones, make boxes or categories. For this example, we can call them Box 1,2, and 3.

The steps are as follows:

  • Place everything in Box 1.
  • Grab a card from box 1, if you remember the answer then place the card in box 2. Do this for all the cards
  • Once all the carts are sorted, it’s up to you whether you want to start at box 1 or box 2 but the same assortment style goes. If you remember the answer, then place the card in the next box numbered box and the ones that stay are ones you can’t answer. Do this until you finally have all the boxes in box 3.

Mind Mapping

The mind mapping technique is great for someone who is a visual learner and is looking to improve their reading comprehension. To do this is, you get a blank piece of paper, then at the center you write the topic in the middle. You then write ideas, keywords, definitions that connect to this concept. You can continue to branch out until you feel that you’ve comprehended the concept.


This is great for when you have trouble concentrating and need that extra push to keep going with your studies. The Pomodoro method consists of using a timer to break down study sessions and breaks. This is what the original technique is, but is open for your own judgement and adjustments:

  • Pick any task you would like to do
  • Set a timer (25 minutes or 45 minutes)
  • Work during that set time
  • End the work when the timer rings and take a short break (5-10 minutes)
  • Go back to setting up the same timer and repeat this until you have done it 4 times
  • After four Pomodoro timers have been done, take a longer break (20-30minutes). Once the break is finished repeat cycle till you have reach your desired goal

Spaced Repetition

This is great for those darn cumulative exams. As well as a great tool for combining with other study techniques. Spaced repetition is when you separate your study time into different intervals. For example, let’s say we have 35 days till our final exam starts. Below are what the sessions can look like:

  • Session 1: Day 1
  • Session 2: Day 7
  • Session 3: Day 14
  • Session 4: Day 21
  • Session 5: Day 28
  • Session 6: Day 35

Active Recall

You might be already doing this, but active recall is essentially repeated testing. You familiarize yourself with a concept. After, you test yourself about everything you know about it without the information in front of you. Hence actively recalling the information you are familiarizing yourself with.

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