How to Handle ‘Pre-Test Syndrome’ by Studying Smarter, Not Harder

It is Monday morning and there you sit, panic swirling inside your stomach, sweaty palms clutching your favourite pen, and a jumble of incoherent thoughts ranging from Louis IX to the square root of pi. These are classic symptoms of ‘pre-test panic’ – don’t worry, we have all been there. Thankfully, ‘pre-test panic’ is easily cured by learning how to study smarter, rather than harder, with better results than if you stared at a textbook for 17 hours straight. Here are five effective tips to make the most of your study time:

1. Create a study environment.
Effective studying can be hindered or enhanced by your study environment. If you study better with no distractions, find a quiet nook in the library. If you need background noise, try listening to music or studying in the lounge. Even this small adjustment can greatly improve your studying experience.

how to study more effectively/ via annasophiawats com

how to study more effectively/ via annasophiawats.com 

2. Discover your learning style.
We all learn differently, and recognizing your learning style is key for successful studying. There are many free tests available to help you determine your learning style and the Centre for Academic Excellence can help you develop an effective study plan.

success kid/va memegenerator.net

success kid/va memegenerator.net

3. Seek to understand, not memorize.
Learning is about internalizing the lessons that our professors teach us, not simply memorizing countless facts only to dispose of them later. It is better to understand the material than to memorize it, because not only will you perform better on tests, you will come away with embedded knowledge.

warner bros/via quickmeme.com

Columbia Pictures / via quickmeme.com

4. Utilize your resources.
Tyndale’s Centre for Academic Excellence is an excellent resource for all students regardless of their academic ability when it comes to improving your writing abilities and study habits. They offer helpful tip sheets, one-on-one appoints for reviewing your assignments, and individual tutoring, and have been praised by professors and students for being vital to the academic life at Tyndale. In the words of one student, “the one-on-one instruction makes a difference.” Wherever you are on the grade spectrum, this is a service to take advantage of during your time at Tyndale! Below is one of the many helpful resources that you will find at the Centre for Academic Excellence.

SQ4R study sheet/Academic Excellence Center Tyndale University

SQ4R study sheet/Centre for Academic Excellence – Tyndale University College

5. Study in short bursts, not long marathons.
I absolutely love history—ask anyone who has the patience to listen to my rants about Canada in the World Wars—but I cannot spend five uninterrupted hours studying nothing but Canadian history without taking a break. Spread out your studying to what works for you, (I recommend 30-minute to one-hour sessions at the most) then take a break for 15 minutes and start again. This helps you avoid burnout and aids in your retention process.

23 things top students do/ via lifehack.org

23 things top students do/ via lifehack.org

6. Reward yourself.

You’ve earned it!

Warner Bros Production/ via frabz.com

Warner Brothers / via frabz.com

* For more helpful tips on how to build a study strategy check out the Centre for Academic Excellence website.

Desaree Rosskopf

BA Honors History Major 
Fourth Year
Senior Student Admissions Representative & Co-President of Tyndale’s Social Justice Group



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