How I raised my test averages by 10%

Happy new year!  One of my resolutions in 2017 is to increase the number of resources on my blog made available to my readers and to expand my blog’s presence online!  This post is my first attempt – here I go!!!

Let’s re-focus ourselves for a strong academic performance this semester.  After learning tips from other students (especially Jamie – go check out her vlog on YouTube: TheStrivetoFit) and researching some on my own last semester, I had several moments of inspiration that drastically helped me improve my scores on exams.  I found that I was studying smarter and was actually invigorated to begin my work each day after I found a rhythm with the tips I’m about to share.  I hope they help you!

  1. Organize your living space, work space, and car.  My car had been in the worst shape with fast food wrappers, miscellaneous papers, etc.  Although the effect isn’t obvious, the clutter adds to your subconscious stress levels.
  2. Eat more vegetables than meat.  I’ve generally been eating only pescatarian meals on Sunday-Tuesday, one meal containing chicken per day on Wednesday-Friday, and any meat-containing meals on Saturday.  Cutting down animal protein lowers not only your calorie intake but also your cholesterol and blood pressure (risk factors for heart disease develop at an early age).  You will also feel better if you eat more green leafy vegetables (these contain iron too!) and omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish.
  3. Find a method of spaced repetition that works for you, and *be consistent with it.  I make Anki flashcard decks (I’ll write another post about how I use Anki when I begin to make more decks for my classes this semester).  Anki has this technique built into the software.  It encourages you to review the flashcards you make at increasing intervals of time (otherwise, your review decks stack up on each other and become overwhelming – you don’t want this to happen).  But it also has a feature to cram-study all the flashcards in one deck on the night before your exam!  *I included the side-note to be consistent with your method because you can end up wasting too much time trying out a bunch of different methods attempting to find the perfect one.  Unfortunately, there is no perfect software or method, but as soon as you find a format of spaced repetition that works for you, stick with it.  Here’s another example: I recently read a “how to study in medical school” post by Student Dr. Diva, and she makes note frameworks (skeleton outlines) before lectures and uses these later to quiz herself to recall the information.
  4. Create a distinct study space for yourself without too many gadgets and/or stationery supplies.  I like typing out my outlines and consolidating all of my notes on the computer, reserving handwritten notes for more complicated diagrams.  Recently, I made several worthy investments that have helped make my studying periods more productive and even enjoyable.  First, I bought a large Acer monitor that was on sale for Black Friday on Amazon.  This screen serves as an extension of my laptop, enlarging text and clarifying images (I like studying my Anki flashcards on this bigger screen).  Second, I bought a Rain Design laptop stand to maintain good posture while studying and prevent constant neck strain.  Third, I bought a Wacom wireless touchpad with stylus to draw or highlight on Microsoft OneNote (I can write another post on how I use OneNote too).  I also plan to bring this bamboo pad to lecture so I can copy down any diagrams my professors draw in class.  The touchpad on my laptop is really inefficient for this, and I prefer to keep all of my notes in one place rather than having to additionally refer to a notebook.
  5. Infuse your study space with small bits of your personality and things that make you happy.  I placed a lavender-scented candle next to my Acer monitor, and it actually, in fact, calms me down and lowers anxiety when I study (not a placebo effect!).  I also hung up a colorful tapestry and string lights that make me happy but aren’t overly distracting.  Finally, I installed a Google Chrome add-on called Momentum Dash that greets me with the time, a beautiful scenery, and an opportunity to set a goal for the day whenever I open a new tab.

Until next time!  Start out your spring semester strong. 🙂



Jackie O.


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