The freedom of summer is just a hop, skip and jump away, but before you can be released, you have to face the challenge of exams – and if you’re living in a dorm, there are additional challenges to consider. 

For ideas on best methods of studying in a dorm setting, we turned to the students of Naale’s free Jewish high school program in Israel for tips on how to achieve the optimal study experience.

  1. Identify your weak spot.

Lots of subjects have a vocabulary of their own, and the key to getting to know the theories better is being proficient in the vocabulary and terms used in that class. Make sure you zone in on what’s the most difficult thing for you to retain and start there before going over every topic on your study sheet.

  1. Create a study sheet.

You can’t relearn an entire topic in a day. We know binge studying sounds great and we’ve all done it, but it’s really stressful and often involves large consumptions of sugar, caffeine and involves skipping sleep. Don’t do it last minute. Instead, set up and write down a study schedule, spreading each subject out throughout the week leading up to the exam. Even if it only means giving twenty minutes to reading a chapter, outline or notes, stick to your schedule. Whether your study method is using binders and sticky notes or using your laptop, however you learn, start early enough that you’re confident you’ll cover the topics you need.

  1. Make it fun with friends and pneumonic devices

While final exams and dorm life can present more challenges, it can also present an opportunity to have fun with friends while studying. Morris H, who is studying at Naale’s Mosenson Elite Academy advises, “Get on a schedule to work with your dorm mates in a study group – it can be difficult to stay focused by the academic payoff is worth it.” A good way to make it more fun, and keep track of factoids is to create pneumonic devices. A group effort to use song lyrics or acronyms or combine both and make songs out of the acronyms they’ve created is a sure fire way to add creativity into the study routine.

  1. Physical Activity

Nothing gets the mind going better than exercise.  To get the juices flowing and make sure your brain is functioning well, it’s best to take breaks and move around while you’re studying. They say it’s optimal to get up every half an hour for a little stroll. It’s also recommended to do light exercise, like a lengthy walk or yoga during the day. For those who regularly exercise, some stretching exercises come in really handy and really help calm the nerves and clear the mind while allowing your muscles to recover.

  1. Rewrite your notes

Sounds tedious, we know, but this really helps! Using different senses to record information has been proven to help process information. When you rewrite notes, you are using both reading and writing, and each adds a layer of mental comprehension.  Even when writing an outline or copying an outline from a fellow study partner, make sure to use your own terms and lingo to improve your ability to record the information.

  1. Location matters

Ditch your dorm room and find somewhere more conducive to concentrating. You’ll need somewhere quiet so that when you do occasionally drift off, you won’t be pulled in by a major distraction. A silent spot in the library, study room or unused room on campus are good options. It’s best to avoid central areas, so do a little investigating to ensure that you can internalize everything you go over during study time.  This tip might seem like a given but people often get lazy, so don’t compromise on your focus and find that sweet spot.

With these six tips to successful studying we wish you good luck on your end of year exams. You can do it!