Midterms, college entrance exams, NMAT—exams are fast approaching, so it’s time to get that “aral mode” on. Start tweeting those sayings such as, “readings bago feelings” and “acads bago lakads.” As we study for this coming exam season, let’s make sure we study effectively. With that goal in mind, here are our top crowdsourced study tips conveniently grouped into 5 categories.

PERSONALITY

Find study methods that suit your personality. Are you more of a visual learner? Auditory? Kinesthetic? These things will affect your learning style. Pictures and diagrams, such as mind maps, could be more helpful for visual learners. Studying with background music could help auditory learners. I used to force myself to study with jazz music in the background because it seemed cool, but then I realized I studied better in silence and that I was just being pretentious.

Your personality will also affect whether or not you study better in groups or by yourself; whether it’s better for you to study at home or in a café; and whether you’re a morning person or an evening person. This will determine if you’re more the type to do an all-nighter or the type who would sleep early and wake up early to study.

So check your personality first before copying everyone else’s study techniques!

PROGRAMS

There are A LOT of different apps and websites that could help you out as you study. Here are our favorites:

Quizlet is a great flashcard tool. It’s both an app and a website and it allows you to create your own flashcard sets. The great thing is that when you create an account (for free!), the flashcard sets you create are synced in the website and app.

Wolfram|Alpha is a problem solver that evolved into a resource for information. You can input complex math equations and it will show you step-by-step solutions. The website also provides solutions for subjects like chemistry and physics. It also provides information for society and culture and everyday life. Just a note, I usually use this just to check if I’m on the right track with my homework or problem sets. Let’s not use it to cheat our way through our work or else we’d be shortchanging ourselves in our education.

Speaking of websites, Youtube’s got a great channel called Crash Course, which explains different concepts really well. Topics include world history, science, philosophy, and so many more.

If you’re looking for ways to lessen your procrastination, try out the Newsfeed Eradicator. It’s a Chrome extension that replaces your Facebook news feed with inspirational quotes. My personal favorite?

“Do, or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda

Lastly, a good work-rest rhythm can also help in your productivity. For that, there’s the Pomodoro Technique. One website that helps you do the technique is the Tomato Timer. Basically, the Pomodoro Technique consists of working for 25 minutes straight—no social media and no distractions. After 25 minutes, you are allowed to take a 5-minute break then work again for another 25 minutes. Do three sets of this then after that, you can take a longer break, like around 15-30 minutes, then repeat.

PRACTICES

And now it’s time to talk about the best practices that we got from different students and alumni that actually helped them.

1. Set goals.

Having daily and weekly goals can be helpful in having more direction as you study. Examples include having a number of readings or chapters to finish every week, or having a number of problem sets to solve every day.

It could also help if you share these goals with someone else who can keep you accountable, like your teacher or friend.

2. Reward yourself.

Think of your favorite snack and have it on standby as you study. For example, if you love Potato Corner, you can have a fry for every page of readings that you finish. When you feel like giving up, just keep your eyes on the fries.

3. Don’t study while hungry.

Speaking of fries, please eat. Hunger is a huge distraction. That’s why feeding programs are a priority in public schools, because hunger impedes learning.

4. C O F F E E

Drink coffee or whatever wakes you up, maybe tea. Or maybe work out during your breaks. All of these can help you stay alert and focused. Just try to avoid those sugary energy drinks or mass-produced iced coffee drinks.

5. Digest your readings.

It’s possible to read your readings so many times and still not understand anything. One technique that can help you out is to a) read it once all the way to the end, b) read it again and highlight important parts, c) make notes from the details you highlighted, then c) study your notes. This will ensure that you really understood what you’ve read.

Another thing that could help you is to try explaining the lesson to a friend. We learn a lot as we teach. It’s also a great way to check if we really understood what we studied. If they didn’t understand it, chances are you didn’t as well.

PURPOSE

As helpful as practical tips can be, there can be times where the work just piles up, time seems to never be enough, and we just want to quit. What can keep us going when the going gets tough is to remember why we’re here in the first place. If our purpose and long-term goals aren’t clear, it’s easy to start questioning why we’re going through the stress and hassles of studying. But if we understand God’s purpose for our lives, we can press on despite whatever hardships and setbacks come our way, because all of this is part of the process.

PAHINGA

Lastly, don’t forget to rest or pahinga (para P pa rin!). When you’re tired, it’s much harder to absorb what you’re studying. Research shows that 6 hours of sleep is actually as bad as not sleeping at all. You still wouldn’t be as sharp mentally as you would be when you get 8 hours of sleep.

So try to get a full night’s rest on a regular basis, but more than sleep, remember that we can rest and take a break when we realize that our future is secure. It’s hard to rest when we feel like all the pressure to succeed is on us, but the good news is there is a God who holds our lives and our future in His hands. Even if we fail, God’s promise to give us a hope and a future will never fail.

We hope these tips will be useful to you as you study! Study hard and study well! We’re right behind you guys!