Studying 101: How To Be A Great Big Nerd

This post goes out to my fellow blogger pal Sarah of Crowded Closet-- hope it helps!

If there’s anything I’m good at, it’s school. While I am far from being a genius, I find that the majority of my academic success has been the result of good discipline and habits that were instilled into me at a young age by my mother. Now in my last few months of university, I remain thankful that the tips which I learned from my keener mother have helped me to maintain straight A’s from high school into university. In fact, on my last two midterm exams taken at Simon Fraser University a few weeks ago, I managed to score 100% on one and 96% on the other.

When exams period rolls around, I approach the studying process like an athlete preparing for a competition. While the studying itself is mind-numbingly boring, all that hard work is more than worth it when you end up breezing through your exam with flying colours!

In my experience, successful studying requires: Quality Materials, Time, Organization, Prioritization, and Repetition.

1.       Quality Materials:
A student can only expect to do well on a test if she or he took adequate notes with which to prepare. This means attending every lecture and tutorial, regardless of whether the professor is boring or not! (If you must skip a class, be sure to have a friend supply you with that day’s notes.) When in class, try not to daydream so much that you end up missing half of what the professor said in addition to the main powerpoint notes. These additional bits of information might greatly help you in understanding an important and possibly confusing concept when you are studying.

2.       Time:
I always try to study for exams at least a week in advance (I study a week ahead for midterms and a week and a half ahead for final exams). This allows you to break up your studying in smaller chunks so that you 1) are not overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that you must absorb for the test and 2) have enough time to study the material more than once (I never said that studying was easy or fun!).

3.       Organization:
For this particular tip, it’s helpful to use things like agendas and calendars to visually divide up your time into wise amounts for studying. For each day of study, write down what you need to finish going over and keep checking back to make sure that you are following your study schedule. When it’s midterm period, I usually have about six weeks of class material to study; as a result, I try to study about two weeks of notes per day so that I’ll be finished studying all of the notes by Day 3. After finishing with the class notes, I will then turn my attention to supplementary (but equally as important) materials such as the class readings and the visuals on the class powerpoint lecture slides.   

4.       Prioritization:
Depending on what type of class you are taking or what kind of professor is teaching your course, it will be more important to study either the lecture notes or the class readings. Since you cannot memorize every single detail of the course material (unless you have photographic memory like Mike in Suits), you must decide what is important to focus on and what details are probably okay to skim over (e.g. graphs and tables in your textbook that the professor never discussed in class).

5.       Repetition:
Lastly, my biggest secret for studying well is repeatedly going over the class materials until I have memorized the important concepts, definitions, and lists to the last word. In that way, when everyone else is sweating over the exam, I can answer most questions with ease and very little brainpower. When I am facing questions that are a bit trickier, such as essay questions and difficult multiple choice questions, having the main class material memorized allows me to run through what I know for certain and to make the best informed decision on what my answer should be.

These are just a few and very brief pieces of advice for studying that have greatly helped me to achieve very high marks on exams. When I am assured that I have studied as much as I could, the resulting peace of mind allows me to be one of those weirdoes who actually enjoys writing exams. Sound impossible? Try these tips for the upcoming exam period and see for yourself! 


  1. Ahh this is such a great post! Thank you so very much for posting this! I have made a commitment to be a better student next quarter (starting in a few days) so this also came with perfect timing! For me personally, I am studying two languages (Arabic and Chinese) and am having trouble finding a way to learn all of the grammar and vocabulary words in time for the exam (we have weekly quizzes with about 100 vocab words each time!) Do you have any suggestions on language learning?
    Thanks again! xx

    <(`) Hoda || JooJoo Azad ~ Free Bird

  2. Great post dear, and great tips too!!!

  3. I'm not having any exams lately because i'm on my practical training but i totally agree with all your tips.
    Its all about focusing on what you are doing and you also have to take time to learn and organize everything in order.
    But yea, of course it's easy to say but once you know better you also do better or have to.
    Wishing you good luck anyway.

    xx Lori

  4. I have some exam in few weeks, so thank you, your tips are great ! :)

    Bisous !

  5. Great tips! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. This tips are great and so true!
    I tend to study for exams for like 1 month or even 2!
    But I think it's super important to be organized. I tend to write everything down 1209189 times and google everything that I don't understand so I am "prepared" for the exams. But because I am so nervous I never get super grades because I mix up everything. But in the end it's positive ;)

    Svetlana from Lavender Star // BlogLovin //
    Instagram // Faceboook

  7. I was the same with my studies! I tried to write a collection of tips for my brother (who is a few years younger) when he became a freshman in college. You've got beauty and brains ;)


    xo Jess

  8. Amazing blog! Would you like to follow each other? <3 Let me know on my blog <3
    a thousand silhouettes


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