Study tips for this exam season | The Journal – Queen's Journal

When the towering pile of assignments, exams, and study papers is sitting in front of you with flashing deadlines, turning on Netflix shouldn’t be your go-to move.
It’s November, one of the most stressful months of the year for university students. Squeezed right between midterms and finals, it’s the last month left to shape up and fix everything wrong with your study habits before heading into exam season.
One of the hardest things about studying is getting started. Procrastination is a deeply frustrating battle every university student encounters. We all know what it’s like to look at a daunting task—a mountain of things to study and work on—and want to do literally anything else.
Here are a few tips to combat procrastination and fix your study habits.
Breakdown the work into small steps
I like to start with a solid plan and break down every study task into small, bite-sized tasks. That way, the mountain of work gets whittled down into something more manageable.
One way to do this is to break down your to-do tasks into weekly content, chronologically, and in each study session, you break down those tasks into smaller tasks. So instead of a study goal for one day being “review week two,” you start with a hefty reading and read it five pages at a time. Then you break down your notes into writing two pages at a time.
Slowly but surely, you combat burning out, granting yourself breaks, while still working to retain information one week at a time. 
Pepper rewards throughout the study session
Having a solid incentive is another way to stave off boredom, and a great way to Pavlov yourself into being okay with studying. This goes hand-in-hand with the first tip as you pepper in rewards with each task.
The easiest reward to give yourself is food and snacks, but given we’re all on a budget and food can only do so much, I would suggest taking five minutes breaks to do something fun. Maybe it’s just scrolling through TikTok, engaging in a hobby like sketching, or playing music.
The key word is five minutes, not fifty.
Start with the hardest subject first
There are some classes that are just plain fun, so if you have a couple of electives you enjoy, end your study session by doing that work last. If it’s easier and more engaging, you’ll need less time to understand what you’re studying.
You may already have retained most of the first time around, anyway. So, studying for these classes will be more relaxing than your difficult classes where you probably zoned out.
Starting with the hardest subject first means you can allot more time to more difficult material, and you work on it during the day, when you have more energy.
Study with friends/in public to hold yourself accountable
This tip depends on what type of studier you are. If you can sit with your friends and still focus, great! On your breaks, you can talk to your friends, and make that your reward. When you study with friends, you all hold each other accountable, making sure no one procrastinates or gets too distracted from studying.
If you can’t focus with friends, studying in a public space might still help because the key here is accountability. If you sit in Stauffer Library, your peers around you hold you accountable—it’s the only kind of helpful peer pressure.
Overall, whether it’s with friends or strangers, separating yourself from distractions and putting yourself in a dedicated study space is a great way to ensure you stay motivated.
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