Out-of-the-box study hacks students should try

Study habits differ for each individual and can be a challenge to find what works best for you and gives you the most results on an exam. When studying writing with a specific colored pen or chewing a flavored gum of choice have both been tactics stated by Rachel Myers, a freshman exercise science major from St. George to be very helpful when test taking. Photo by Jessica Johnson.

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With all the things school has to offer, studying is probably one of the biggest downfalls. Struggling to stay on top of all your daily tasks can be tiresome, and because of this, it can make studying seem like the least of your worries. 

By finding the study hacks that work best for your individual needs, studying will become less of a chore.

Smelling essential oils

Rachel Myers, a freshman exercise science major from St. George, said an effective study hack she has heard is smelling essential oils.

“If you smell the mint [essential oils], and then you smell it right before you take your test, it is supposed to help you recall the information better,” Myers said.

Myers said people will soak a personal item, such as a piece of jewelry, in the scented oils so the smell will linger while they’re taking a test.

Using the same habits while studying and during the test

While studying, write with a specific colored pen and chew a flavored gum of your choice. Then when you take the test, use the same colored pen and chew the same flavor of gum.

Myers said she has found both of these hacks to be a great tool to use when trying to retain the knowledge needed.

Noelle West, a senior mathematics major from Michigan, said if you eat something with a distinct flavor while studying, you should eat that same thing while taking the test because it will help to improve your score. She said this hack has helped her tremendously throughout her time in college. 

“I think that the more of your five senses that you involve in your studying, the more beneficial it is to learn and retain knowledge,” West said.

Incorporating creative skills into studying

While using note cards has become a popular study solution for many students, Myers has taken this common hack and put her own creative twist to it. 

Myers said: “When I do a really long essay, I will take note cards and I will write all of my quotes out on them. Depending on what order I want to put them, I will place them all out and it helps me write my papers faster, and it is easier to get my ideas out there.” 

West said a technique she has seen students use, including herself, is creating a song based on the study information.

West said in her freshman English class she was required to memorize prepositions, and in doing so, the professor had everyone learn a song that helped with the memorization process.

West said she also loves to use drawings while studying. She said by drawing a picture that relates to the subject, it helps to retain the information when she goes to take a test.

“Drawing pictures is also very helpful,” West said. “I always try and incorporate my studying into drawing… that way I would remember the picture when I went to go take the test.”

David Harris, assistant professor in media studies and a current DSU student, said he enjoys using technology, such as recordings or videos that he has created, to memorize the most important information.

“I’ve recorded voice memos on my phone, I recorded a term and its definition and then I will periodically listen to it throughout the day,” Harris said. “I’ve also made little videos that just have words that come up; it’s kind of like flashcards, but I know how long those flashcards are going to take because the video is a specific length.”

Study groups and multiple sources

Harris said one of the best study solutions you could use is a group discussion. 

“When we have the opportunity to teach other people or help other people understand something, it gives us an opportunity to remember things better,” Harris said.

Harris said using multiple sources is a great outlet for students to be able to find ways of studying that work best for them. These outlets may include related articles or websites that may better your understanding of the subject matter.

Study breaks

Abigale Goulding, a freshman applied and computational mathematics major from Lake Isabella, California, said one of her favorite study hacks she enjoys using and finds to be fairly effective would be food. 

Goulding said a great way to refocus on studying is taking a few minutes to yourself by getting up and walking around for a bit. 

“One thing that I feel really helps is once I am feeling tired or drowsy, I will get up and walk around or just change my focus so when I come back I can refocus, and that definitely helps,” Goulding said.

Students will be far more successful in college by studying on their own rather than relying on the teacher to retain the information from, Harris said.

“The most important thing to recognize is that when you’re in college, you are not there to be taught, you are there to learn,” Harris said.

For any student who finds themselves struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professor and ask for further explanation. While you should contribute to the learning process by studying the course material, it never hurts to get extra help where it is needed.