Study Tips and Techniques
We’ve put together this guide to optimize the study routines of new students at UCI and increase academic performance. Every class is different so students should tailor the guide to meet their needs as the quarter progresses.
Standard Study Routine
- In Early/ Out Late: Come to campus in the morning before your class. Instead of going home after class, stay at the library until dark.
- Attend Every Lecture: Because we are on the rapid quarter system, one class session could cover many topics and chapters so missing one class will make it harder to catch up.
- Review After Lectures: At the end of the day, go over what topics were covered in that days lecture to solidify it in your memory and formulate questions you may have.
- Attend Every Office Hour: Try to be at every office hour with questions you formulated. If you do not have any questions, go anyway and listen to the discussions. Office hours tend to get much busier when exams approach.
- Create Study Groups: Many people are in the same situation as you are in and want to do well on their exams. Groups help you study by keeping you on track. By teaching the material to other students you also test your knowledge.
Exam Preparation Routine
Week Before Exam
- A week before an exam is the minimum time you should start studying if you want to receive a satisfactory grade.
- Start off by exposing yourself to the material you learned from the beginning, devote sections the first days so by the third or fourth day you have covered the exam material once over. Remember, at this point you just want to bring to light what you have to know so nailing everything down is not necessary yet. This relieves some pressure on you so you don’t have to cram material in.
- One week before an exam usually leaves two office hour sessions to ask your professor any questions you had from skimming the material. If possible, ask questions after lecture.
- It’s important to take breaks while you study to give yourself a chance to absorb information. After a break, test yourself on the material you just covered to see what you need to review. Try taking small breaks around every half hour.
Two to Three Days Before Exam
- This period should be used to review the material you went over the previous days.
- Be on the lookout for review sessions being held by TAs or tutoring resources.
- Time at home should be dedicated to personal time and sleep, you are not likely to actually study when you are in your room filled with distractions. Stay at the library so you can get as much work done as possible.
Day of Exam
- Adequate sleep the night before an exam is a must. It is never a good idea to stay up all night studying. Your brain needs to rest, without sleep it cannot function properly during an exam which will impact your grade.
- Come to campus early to do some light studying, at this point everything should be review.
- Make sure you eat something but stay away from heavy foods that might affect you during the exam.
- Confidence is key, if you studied long and hard enough you will know that you are prepared for the exam.