After poking and pinning my way through the internet, and I have decided that when it comes to test prep and studying, the advice online falls into one of three categories: the good, the bad, and the smugly delusional.
The majority of the study tips and hacks fall into the final category, and I cringe to think of students believing such hogwash. Many advice articles fail because they are outdated, unscientific, or unrealistic, but the most treacherous lists include questionable advice alongside solid study habits. Deciding which tricks are legitimate is a trick in and of itself.
So how do you discern the best from the bunk? Like anything on the internet, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Consider the source and use common sense. There are no blanket study methods that work for everyone. For example, I frequently see "find a study buddy" at the top of study hacks lists, but I know group study sessions never worked for me. I hate being interrupted, and being around people, even your most studious friends, will inevitably lead to interruptions.
Most study hacks seem gimmicky or ridiculous to me, probably because when you’re studying, you should really be learning. There are no magical combinations of color coding and caffeine that can teleport information from a book or experiment into your brain. Rather than comb the internet for study tips, think about how you learn best. Do you draw pictures to bring your physics equation to life? Read aloud and ask yourself questions? Create ridiculous acronyms? Chances are you already know a trick or two, so forget planning to eat the exact snack right before the test as you did when you were studying. Focus on how you learn best, and keep doing what works for you.