Strategies For Studying Successfully Throughout the Second Semester

An Advice Column.


Christina Papageorgiou

Melina Asteriadis ’18 and Teddy Lowen ’18 have a cumulative seven years’ worth of advice on studying for exams.

Hi Bronx Science!  This is Melina Asteriadis ’18 and Teddy Lowen ’18 and this is the second edition of our advice column, dedicated to providing useful tips and answering questions to make your experience at Bronx Science the best it can be. If you have any questions that you would like to be featured in the next column, please feel free to email us at either [email protected] or [email protected].

Listen, we get it: exams are difficult. Since the second semester is in full swing with a heavy workload, our stress levels sharply increase. For this issue’s advice column, we want to give our fellow Sciencites a few tips that we have accumulated over the past three and a half years of studying for exams, to diminish some of that inevitable stress and help you get through the second semester effectively!

Countless studies have shown that the best way to effectively retain information is to spread out your studying, rather than cramming the night before.

1) Start studying as soon as possible. You’ve heard this countless times, but it is especially critical with Major Assessment Exams. Because they are cumulative and cover much more material than a regular test, studying a day or two before will not help you, as most of the topics on the exam will need a lot of brushing up on, since you haven’t seen them in a while. Countless studies have shown that the best way to effectively retain information is to spread out your studying, rather than cramming during the night before. Studying twenty minutes a day a week before your Major Assessment Exam will give you some peace of mind, and save you sleep the night before. It also will help you remember more information!

2) Don’t rely on just your notes. For most subjects, simply reading through your class notes is not enough to do well on Major Assessment Exams. In math and science classes, make sure you dedicate more time to doing practice questions. While reading your notes is important, understanding the theory does not always translate to perfectly solving problems. There also are many online resources that are extremely helpful. For instance, Khan Academy has virtually every subject explained very clearly with both articles and videos. “I’ve used Khan Academy videos every year to study for science exams, and it’s so helpful,” said Imaan Hoque ‘18. You also can access past A.P. exams on the College Board website for practice, since classes such as English and Calculus model some of their Major Assessment Exams off of these AP exams.

3) Utilize your personal learning techniques. If you are a student who works and learns better in groups, try and form a study group with some friends.  If you do not like studying in groups, that is okay too, as there are many ways to study effectively on your own. Find what strategy works the best for you, and stick to it for the best results on test day!

4) Make sure that you adopt good habits during the second semester. This means sleeping well and eating right. Do not stay up until 3 a.m. the night before a Major Assessment Exam. It will be more difficult to get through the entire week if you are running low on sleep. Though easier said than done, not procrastinating is crucial during the second semester. It is also important to eat breakfast and lunch before your test as being hungry during the exam will not help you to do your best, and two coffees and a doughnut will not sustain you throughout the test. Make sure that you eat a balanced meal, which will give you the best focus and energy.

5) Don’t forget to de-stress! It is easy to get caught up in the stress of having multiple cumulative exams in one week, but try to take some time to relax. No matter how busy you are, there is always time to watch an episode of your favorite show (just one), go for a run, or take a bubble bath!