The Science of Studying

Finals week.  The week that comes around twice a year when students post cliché Instagrams of Starbucks, textbooks, and laptops with the tags “#studygrind #library #adderall” attached.  When those who have never stepped foot in the library set up camp for hours each day mindlessly staring at the half-assed notes they tried to take all year.  Everyone has their own studying methods, but there is an easy way to classify yourself as one of two types.

Quantity Studiers

Quantity studiers are the ones that leave their room at 9 a.m. and come back at midnight.  This group makes up the majority of the people you see who have made the library their home for the week.  Their diets consist of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Red Bull, and Jimmy Johns.  Often you’ll hear quantity studiers “bragging” about how much time they spent in the library “studying”.  Although the efficiency of a quantity studier isn’t exactly known, I can’t imagine it’s very high.  One is only able to stare at how to find the covariance between two factors so long.  Why study so long when it might not be necessary?  Quantity studiers need the mental reinforcement that they have done all they can do to prepare for an exam, and spending countless, unnecessary hours gives them the reassurance.

Quality Studiers

These guys have it figured out.  They realize that there is a perfect amount to prepare for an exam- and it’s not very much.  Quality study students will spend a moderate amount of time preparing for an exam, as they would any other.  They realize that it’s not how much you study, but the quality of the time you spend.  Maybe they go out Tuesday night for a drink or attend dollar-you-call-it on Thursday. Freshman and Seniors are the most two common types of quality studiers.  Freshman attitudes have the “I have 3 more years to fix my GPA if this goes poorly” mentality whereas Seniors have the “Screw it, I’m done” attitude.


While one method isn’t right or wrong, quality studying definitely utilizes your last week of the semester far better.  Which type of studier will you be?