Don’t worry, upperclassmen, you’ve got this


With AP and IB testing approaching, students in all grades, especially upperclassmen, have a lot on their plates. In this overwhelming time, it is important to understand what study habits work best for each person. The following are some potentially helpful tips for preparing for exams:

  1. Study in groups: Group work helps to ensure that you have covered all the material you need to, that you can help friends and receive help, and that you have fun while studying.
  2. Don’t cram: By staying up late, not only are you risking exhaustion during the test, but limiting the amount you can memorize. In a study by Nate Kornell at the University of California, Los Angeles, 90% of participating students said spreading out studying was more efficient and effective than cramming. The most important thing you can do is sleep.
  3. Ask for help if you have questions: No question is stupid. Teachers tend to make a lot more sense when talking to them one-on-one.
  4. Remove distractions: Take your phone away from your study area, don’t listen to music unless you tell yourself not to touch your phone, and don’t watch TV while studying. It sounds cliche, but it is important.
  5. Take short breaks: Some people will recommend fifty minutes of studying followed by ten minute breaks, some will say twenty minutes with five minute breaks. Figure out how long your attention span is and take breaks when you can’t handle to be still anymore.
  6. Don’t eat junk food while studying: According to Harvard Health Publishing (from Harvard Medical School), so-called “brain foods” do actually help improve your focus. Eat healthy foods such as blueberries or walnuts while studying.
  7. Practice on old tests: They’re the perfect study guide; you can see what you struggled with this year and study that.
  8. Make sure you have a consistent time and place for every day of studying: Find a spot that doesn’t have distractions and that relaxes you, and a time where you’re alert.
  9. Relax: These tests don’t matter that much in the long run. You’ve got this.