Tag: exams

How CMU studies: exam-prep tips from students

Ahh, exam season. The hustle and bustle of students in and out of the library, the furious flipping of notebook pages, the smell of coffee and stress-sweat in the air…

Yeah, it’s not always the prettiest picture. But look at us go, making it through successfully, year after year!

I don’t want to say that I’ve mastered the art of studying (is that even possible?), but I have my weird ways that work best for me. And it was only when I realized that I don’t have to study exactly like the person next to me at the library that exam-prep became easier.

hands at a laptop

I was in Folio Café this morning, working on my precious flashcards (my personal go-to study method) and drinking too much coffee, and began wondering how the people around me hit the books.

So I asked! Here are some of the weird ways that CMU students like to study:

“Invest in a whiteboard! I love whiteboards. Drawing pictures and diagrams helps me a lot.” – Jadyn Lennea

“I choose one song I love and then put it on repeat. That way I don’t get distracted by new songs and playlists.” – Levi Klassen

“What I usually do is read something, distract myself for a few minutes, and then see if I can remember what I read. If I can’t remember it, I read it again.” John Nieckarz

“I throw on some of the thrashiest punk music I can find and zone out with my textbook.” Myles Tiessen

“I just do it.” – Nicholas Willms

 “Summarize your notes on single sheets of paper, because an entire notebook is overwhelming.” Emma Heinrichs

“Put on a funky tune, guzzle some coffee, and rewrite your notes, condensing them each time.” Andi Jacobs

 “Being outside if I can is great. I love the sunshine and feeling like there’s more to the world than just my desk.” Jacoba Buist

“Sometimes when I’m memorizing something, I make up a song! I don’t sing it very loudly though.” Anne Kelm

“I study in the morning so once I hit noon I feel super accomplished.” Renee Desroches

“TAKE BREAKS. I take outside breaks, I take coffee breaks. Combine the two for an EXCELLENT BREAK.” Madeleine Friesen

Best of luck to you all as you prepare for exams, in your own weird ways. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the key to study-success by trying out one of these student-approved strategies!

Chloe Friesen, 2nd Year Communications and Media Student

6 study tips to help you prepare for exams

With the weather warming up and the days getting longer, summer seems to be just around the corner… but not yet—there are still exams to come. It can be challenging to find the motivation to sit down and study at the end of the school year. Even though it might seem early to start thinking about exams, it’s better to start studying sooner than later. Here are six tips to make studying as painless and productive as possible.

6 study tips — A modern wood desk topped with a black desk lamp, a large digital clock that reads "15:00", a colourful painting of a bouquet of flowers, several notebooks, a pair of glasses, a pencil case with highlighters tumbling out, a cell phone and tablet, and in the corner a stack of books topped by a small succulent plant.
1. Make a Study Plan

Starting early is helpful, but it is important to make a study plan. It will help you stay on track and make sure that you aren’t cramming in too much right before the exam. Creating a schedule with goals for what you want to accomplish everyday will help you feel more prepared and confident going into your exam.

2. Find a New Study Space

By the end of the year, it is easy to get bored of the places where you have been studying. Finding a new study space could help you focus! You could try the public library, a quiet café, or even moving your desk to a new corner of your room. CMU’s Marpeck Commons is a great place to try out in Winnipeg, with great spaces for group studying, a quiet library, and Folio Café

6 study tips — A view of Marpeck Commons from the Mezzanine level, down to the tables and chairs below, with Folio Cafe and the wall of glass letting in so much natural light.
3. Minimize Distractions

Studying is a lot more productive and efficient when you concentrate, so put your phone down and stay off social media during dedicated study times. There are apps you can download to help you stay focused— apps with timers, apps that buzz when you pick up your phone during study time, and others that block distracting sites. Focusing on what you need to get done and minimizing distractions will make your study time more effective.

4. Make Study Notes

Take time to make study notes, because making them is part of the process of studying. Use colour, pictures and diagrams, and highlight key words and ideas with certain colours or symbols. Create study notes that will help you learn and that fit the way you remember material. It’s also more fun when you take the time to make them look nice! 

6 study tips — A student sits by the window in the CMU Library highligher in hand, reading a text book.

5. Take Outdoor Breaks

When the weather is nice, take a break and go for a walk, toss a Frisbee around, or take a nap in the grass. Having a change in scenery and getting some fresh air will give your brain some space to rest, and will help you concentrate when you sit down again to do more work.

6. Study with Others

Find other people in your class who you can study with—people who will help you stay focused and not become a distraction! When you study with others, you can ask questions about confusing information, but you can also teach, which helps you gain a better understanding of the concept and will prepare you for answering exam questions.

What are your favourite study tips? Share them in the comments below. And of course, we wish you the best of luck with your exams!

 

Laura Carr-Pries in her graduation gown and cap.

Laura Carr-Pries just graduated from CMU with a BA in Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies and Theology. (She’s also one of this year’s President’s Medal winners, so you know she knows a thing or two about studying.)

The Pros and Cons of CMU’s Many Study Spaces

It’s that time of year again…the time of year when you’re breathing a sigh of relief from finishing all your papers and assignments, yet holding your breath for your upcoming exams. Well, hopefully you’re doing more than just holding your breath for your exams and actually doing some studying as well. That makes finding a good study spot integral to success. CMU has a vast array of study spaces, each with a different vibe. So how are you supposed to choose? Here are a few helpful hints to get you started:

Study Rooms:

Study Rooms - The Pros and Cons of CMU’s Many Study Spaces

Some days, these are the most coveted study spots on campus, so you had better be on top of things if you want one. There’s a reason they are so well liked; you can create your own study atmosphere. It’s just you and whomever you invited to study with you, so everything from dead silence to heavy metal jams is cool. Most of them have windows to let in natural light too, so that’s a bonus. And there’s whiteboards in each room for those of you who are visual learners.

Folio Café and The Mezzanine:

Folio Cafe and the Mezzanine - The Pros and Cons of CMU’s Many Study Spaces

You shouldn’t ever have trouble finding a study buddy here, as these places are constantly bustling. Unless you go late in the evening, in which case it can rival the library for quietness. But if you’re going during the day, expect a constant din in the background and a steady flow of friends to distract you. But if you’re struggling to stay awake, at least you can grab a cup of coffee.

Library:

The Library - The Pros and Cons of CMU’s Many Study Spaces

It’s hardly even fair to consider this one study space, since there are a variety of study space options within the library. Whether you prefer a large table, a comfortable chair, or a study carol, it’s all there. On top of all that, you’re sure to get plenty of natural light during your study session. And even though the sunlight might tempt you out of your study habits, the silence that surrounds you is sure to keep you on track.

North Campus Lounges:

North Campus Lounges - The Pros and Cons of CMU’s Many Study Spaces

The only place that has couches that rival those of CMU’s lounges is the Blaurock Café…and that’s because they have the same ones. Seriously, comfort will be the least of your concerns in the lounges on north campus. Trying not to fall asleep, however, might be a little more challenging. The lounges are relatively small too, so they have a nice intimate feel. And you know they won’t be as busy as Marpeck Commons, so if seclusion is your thing, this might be the place for you.

Blaurock Café:

The Blaurock - The Pros and Cons of CMU’s Many Study Spaces

“The Blau”, or CMU’s original café, is still the cosiest spot to study on campus. With comfy couches abounding and warm beverages brewing, it’s a great place to set up your studies for many hours, particularly in the cold of winter. And despite popular belief, you don’t have to be a music student to study there. Just like the north campus lounges though, napping is a serious threat to productivity here, especially with the warm, dim lighting.

Jason Friesen is our lead blogger, and he’s in his final year of a Communications and Media degree at CMU.

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