University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Stress Less for Tests

college study tips

Whether it’s a huge final or a quick quiz, there’s no need to stress!

Madeline McGee breaks down her study tips that have helped her survive college.

Today, my professor told me our midterm was next week.

When my first test comes each year, I always panic and wonder if I even remember how to study. Last Monday I took my first exam and tried to jump back into good study habits without overdoing the caffeine. Here are some study tips I’ve lived by during my college career.

“Give me my coffee now. Please.”

If I’m studying, or whatever else I’m doing, it doesn’t matter the weather or the time of day. Give me iced coffee, hot coffee, even day-old coffee… I need my coffee. Thankfully we have three Starbucks on campus.

study tips for college

Find Your Study Spot

I’m a routine-kind-of person. After coffee, I get in my study spot and stay there for at least a couple hours. I’ve found that wherever there’s a lot of natural light is where I thrive.

Even though the food court at UALR is crowded, I can zone-in and get things done there best. How well I study in my apartment depends on my self-control that day. Learn to limit distractions. This means cleaning my room before I study and setting aside the temptation to look at Facebook.

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Stick With It

Don’t get in your zone for only a half-hour and then get up and get “un-situated.” Get settled and keep at it! Accomplish one task at a time, stick with your to-do list and prioritize what you need to get done each day.


If you find yourself re-reading the same line in a book five times, try switching subjects. I’ve found that if I just come back to a project, I can go at it and make the progress I had been waiting for!

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If changing subjects doesn’t seem to be working and you’ve tried taking a mental break, try to fuel up on food, go to the gym, or take a 20-30 minute nap. Losing ability to focus can be frustrating and have a lot of contributing factors. Sometimes all you need is a short walk outside and you’ll be ready to get back to it.

Jam Out

Last year during finals week, instrumental music was all I listened to on Pandora. It helps me stay in my zone while I study without distracting me with lyrics I want to sing along with. I try to get a new set of songs once a month or so to freshen it up, otherwise I find myself skipping every other soundtrack.

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Especially when I’m working on anything creative, I have to have my music going at all times. Since creative projects are more relaxed and my mind can wander, lyrics don’t bother me.

Use Your Resources

The Writing Center at UALR is a place I frequent whether it’s my resume, an essay or a cover letter – they’re an awesome resource.

I had a final paper for a marketing class last semester that was supposed to be Chicago style format. On the internet there are tons of different opinions and guidelines for what Chicago style actually is. Going to the Writing Center with your paper will give you some reassurance in case a professor grades harshly.

The library and tutoring on campus are also resources that are usually included in your tuition you will want to utilize. Even if it’s simply reading your paper aloud to someone, taking your project in will boost your confidence!

Another way I love studying for tests is using online resources like Quizlet. You can make a set of flashcards online with your own content or browse for similar material to learn from.

College is important, but in the end, study and prepare but try not to stress! Life will go on… you’ll graduate, get a job and move on. Drink some coffee. 🙂


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