1. Get organized. Maintain a binder or folder where you keep all of your notes and materials.
2. Have a designated study space. This space should have few distractions and be somewhere where you know you will be productive.
3. Take frequent, short breaks. Studies suggest that a 10-minute break after every hour of study increases productivity. Set a timer or pay close attention to the clock. Don’t shortchange yourself on study time.
4. Prioritize. Use practice tests as a studying tool. Take these incrementally to determine which content areas you’re struggling with so you can give those areas the attention they need.
5. Study according to your learning style. The predominant learning styles are audio, visual and kinesthetic.
6. Pace yourself. Instead of cramming, designate a specific time slot during which you study every day, but no more than three hours.
7. Summarize information in your own words and create your own notes. Make outlines, graphic organizers or write a summary in narrative format to reinforce the highlights of the content you’ve just reviewed.
8. Utilize mnemonic devices as study tools. The funnier the sentence, the easier it will be to remember. Remember in third grade when you learned the nine planets with, “My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas”? Use terms that are related or fall under the same concept and keep the sentence to around 10 words.
9. Study in groups. This isn’t a strategy that works for everyone; if you’re easily distracted, you might want to stick to individual study sessions. Your time is valuable, so pick study partners whom you know will work as hard as you will.
10. Set goals. There’s no way to stuff everything in your head in one session. Have a goal for each study session by setting a specific intent. For example, “Today I will memorize and understand all of the main components of the digestive system.”