New Study: How does Screen Time Affect Grades?

What effects can phone screen time have on students? At first glance, it may seem harmless but when we decided to take a closer look, we found a strong correlation between too much phone time and lower grades.

With 95% of Americans owning a cell phone of some kind and actually 77% of them owning a smartphone (according to pewinternet), the topic of phone time and its potential effects comes into question.

So, we asked 875 undergraduate university/college students (1st year students aged 17-19) what their daily phone screen time was the last 7 days and their current grade to see if there could be any correlation between them.

Phone Screen Time

young man using phone to watch videos

First, we asked how many hours per day they spent on their phones in the last 7 days. This can easily be found by going into the settings in your phone and finding screen time which shows you a bunch of stats on your phone usage. Some cool things you can see are what categories you used your phone for (entertainment, productivity, etc.), what apps you used the most, how many times you picked up your phone, etc.

pie chart showing screen time of respondents

We found that 83% of respondents used their phone for at least 3 hours, while only 17% used it for less than 3 hours. This shows that the strong majority use their phones quite a lot throughout the week.

Furthermore, the most uncommon screen time was 0-1 hours which only 1% of respondents selected.

Impact on Grades

image of an A+ with a red circle around it

When looking at how screen time could affect students’ grades, we looked at the results in a number of different ways. Here are our findings:

Lowest Overall Grade

The lowest overall grade for those who have 0-1 hours of screen time is a B- compared to a D- for those who have 8+ hours of screen time.

Although it doesn’t necessarily mean that more phone time will give you a lower grade, it means that more phone time results in a higher likelihood to get a lower grade than a B-.


The variance for those with 0-1 hours of phone time is approx. 3 compared to 9 for those with 8+ hours of phone time. Showing that with more hours of screen time, your grade will vary more from the average grade in each screen time category.

line chart of variance increasing drastically when screen time is increased

To explain this in a bit more detail, for example, if you have 0-1 hours of screen time and the average grade for this amount of screen time is an A-, your grade can be 3 grade levels lower or higher than A- meaning your grade will range from a B- to an A+.

But if you have 8+ hours of screen time and the average grade for this amount of screen time is a B+, your grade can be 9 grade levels lower or higher than a B+ meaning your grade can range all the way from a D- to an A+.

This shows that with less phone time, your grade is more stable around the average grade but with more phone time, your grade can fluctuate, a lot.

C’s and D’s

The percentage of students with 0-1 hours of phone time that have an overall grade of a C or D was 0% (0 people) but that number skyrockets to 17% (19 people) for those with 8+ hours of phone time.

bar graph showing c's and d's % among respondents

The longer you spend on your phone, the higher the likelihood that you’ll get a lower grade (in the C’s or D’s).

In addition, according to Away for The Day, a study by Delaney Ruston on the effects of screen time, college students participated in various cognitive tests with phones present and not present and it was found that “the presence of phones negatively impacted attention and task performance.”

Things to Note

  1. 1. Of course, students can use their phones to read digital textbooks or do other things related to studying but these findings all have the underlying assumption that phone screen time is typically associated with things such as social media apps, entertainment (Netflix, YouTube, etc.), games, etc.
  2. 2. The relationship between screen time and grades is not a causal relationship but rather a correlation meaning that screen time doesn’t directly cause grades to go down, it’s just one factor that could potentially affect lower grades.

Therefore, there are many other factors to consider whenever looking at grades and how they can fluctuate. However, one could imagine that the more time spent looking at your phone, the less time you’ll have to do things like look at a textbook, complete assignments, etc. (online or physical) and this is why we wanted to see if there really was a correlation.

male student using phone during class

So, the answer to “does phone screen time affect grades?” is yes, it’s one factor that can negatively affect grades but it isn’t the only one, nor is it a direct causation, but rather a correlation.

Instead, the conclusion is that phone time significantly increases the possibility of getting a lower grade due to the increased variability that more phone time brings.

Not only can phone screen time affect your grades, but think of the things you could do if you just reduced your screen time even by a couple hours per week. Rather than spending those valuable hours on mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, spend it on trying to better yourself whether it’s academically, personally, or professionally. After all, time flies so we should all try to make each day count.

Make sure to check out these posts to help yourself stay focused during school or if you want to check out some other studies we’ve done!

How to Take Study Notes: 5 Effective Note Taking Methods and Essential Tips

Learn How to Memorize – Top 6 Memorization Techniques

New Study Shows Students’ Sleep Significantly Suffers before Exams

57.5% of College Graduates Don’t Work in Their Field of Study


New Study Shows Students’ Sleep Significantly Suffers before Exams

Students across the world are about to begin (or are currently in) their exam season and one big variable this time of year is their sleep before exams.

The exam season is a time where students frantically prepare themselves to get the best grade they can get which can sometimes even be worth 100% of their grade.

Since it’s a peak stressful time for students, one must wonder how much it can actually impact students’ sleep and attitude.

Since this kept us up at night, much like exam-prep for students, we decided to run a survey with 159 students (and counting) to see how exactly exams and exam stress affects students during this stressful season. And as a bonus, we have 10 Ways on How to Reduce Stress During Exam Season from students themselves at the end of this article!

Here are some of our key survey findings:

-During exams, NO respondent sleeps 10 hours or more BUT when students finish their last exam, 46% of them sleep 10-12 hours that same night.

-40% of respondents sleep 6 hours or less on a typical night but this percentage almost doubles to 69% during exam season. 

-78% of students feel nervous/stressed immediately before an exam

The survey we used is actually still ongoing and collecting responses and will be consistently updated with new data so we invite you to fill it out so we can present more incredibly interesting findings for you! Take the 3-minute Exams-Effect Survey

When we first looked at the data, we looked at the total average sleep of all respondents between average sleep on a typical night vs. average sleep during exam season. The amount was 6.7 hours and 5.7 hours, respectively.

Although at first glance, the difference may not seem that significant, one thing to note is that sleep becomes considerably more variable during finals – students will cycle between extreme sleep restriction and sleep rebound more than normal, which could explain why the averages are somewhat similar. Regardless, we dug a little deeper and found some very interesting insights.

Sleep: During & Immediately after Exams

Student asleep in the library with book on his face at the university

Regarding students’ sleep during and immediately after exams, as we mentioned, we found that the average amount of sleep during exam season is 5.7 hours. We then asked how much sleep they get immediately after their last exam and we found that the average was 9.2 hours. Meaning that on average, students sleep 3.5 hours less during exam season than immediately after they finish their last exam.

How many hours of sleep do you get IMMEDIATELY AFTER your Last Exam? Pie Chart
How many hours of sleep do you get per night (on average) DURING Exam Season? Bar graph

Diving a little deeper into sleep during exams vs. immediately after their last exam, we found that 46% of respondents slept for 10-12 hours immediately after their last exam while 0% (NO ONE) slept even 10 hours during exam season.

This just goes to show how long and hard students study during this incredibly busy season and how much sleep they need to catch up on once it’s finished.

Sleep: Typical Night and During Exams

Young man finding it difficult to wake up in the morning

When it comes to sleep on a typical night and during exam season, we found some significant differences as well.

How many hours of sleep do you get per night (on average)? Bar graph
How many hours of sleep do you get per night (on average) DURING Exam Season? Bar graph

Firstly, 40% of respondents sleep 6 hours or less on a typical night but this percentage almost doubles to 69% during exam season. This shows that a significantly larger number of students are getting less sleep when exam season hits.

What time do you usually sleep? Pie chart
What time do you usually sleep DURING Exam Season? Pie chart

Secondly, the most common time to sleep on a regular night was found to be 12AM among respondents but it extends to 2AM during exam season. Since 8AM was found to be the most common time to wake up on a regular night AND during exam season, most students are sleeping 2 hours less during exam season.

It’s clear that exams are causing a significant drop in sleep hours most likely due to students cramming and frantically preparing for exams in such a short period of time.

Stress: During Exams

Worried student. Young handsome student guy looking stressed and nervous rubbing his temples during university exam tired headache session education thinking hardworking deadline annoyed concept

When it comes to how exams affect students’ attitude, we’ve found a couple of very interesting initial insights.

How do you feel immediately BEFORE an exam? Pie chart

78% of students feel nervous/stressed immediately before an exam. This means that in a room of 100 students about to take an exam, 78 of them will be feeling very nervous/stressed which can have a serious negative impact on their mental health if they’re experiencing this 10 times a year every single year (assuming the average student takes has 5 exams per semester).

On the other side of the coin, we found that 20% of respondents actually feel calm and excited before their exams. Of course, it’s expected that exams will cause stress and nervousness to the strong majority of students but seeing a number as big as 20% shows that there are more students like this than one would assume. Maybe the 78% can get some tips from this 20%.

How do you feel immediately after an exam? Pie chart

When students finish their exams, 69% feel relieved/calm immediately after, which is expected, but 22% still feel nervous/stressed. One common reason why they still feel nervous/stressed is because they then become worried about how they did and nervous about what grade they’ll receive. Another reason why they feel this way is because they likely still have more exams to write shortly after finishing their first one.

This shows that the exams itself is not the only stressor; worrying about their grade and how they performed, and worrying about their next exam are two significant factors that can pile on even more stress for students around the globe.

10 Ways on How to Reduce Stress During Exam Season

Selfie time! Four international students with beaming smiles are posing for selfie shot, caucasian attractive lady is taking, in school library building. Gathered, cheerful, smart and successful youth

We also asked students what tips or advice they’d give to other students on how to reduce stress during exam season. Here are 10 recommendations from students for students:

“Meditating, deep breaths, drinking a warm drink”

Bio Sci Student

“Eat enough healthy food and drink lots of water”

Psychology Student

(just like we mentioned in our 7 tips on how to stay healthy during exams!)

“Take good notes during the year and go to lectures so you’re more confident in what you know. Attend the last class of the semester where exam review occurs and ask your prof any questions you may have”

Architectural Science Student

“Be around people who support you and find friends to hang out with in between studying”

Business Administration Student

“While studying I organize my things and make a schedule of what I am going to study and when. It keeps me on track and it helps me to stay focused and calm. Before an exam I try not to think of anything and I don’t talk about the exam before the exam because that makes me really nervous.”

Science Student

“During exam season, exercise and keep active to reduce stress and fight before some self-talk & deep breaths”

Humanities Student

“During Exams: Study further in advance, eat consistent meals, study with friends (only after studying by yourself). 
After Exams: sleep, know you did the best you could and you can’t change the outcome now, hang out with friends, eat a home cooked meal”

Life Sciences Student

“When the pressure/stress is too high, go for a walk/fresh air”

Accounting Student

“Study in small increments leading up to your exam to avoid cramming. As hard as it is, carve out time (it can be as small as 10-15 minutes) to take a break, go for a walk, etc.”

Communications Student

“Instead of thinking of the grades you’ll get, think of the incentive as simply learning the content and how it can be applied to your life and others’ lives.”

Psychology Student

Exams: What Next?

Without research, it can be reasonably expected that students will sleep less during exams and they’ll be stressed going into their exams. But, with research, we can see exactly how much students’ sleep suffers during exam season and exactly how many students feel nervous/stressed going into their exams; and even see how many students are the opposite and feel excited going into their exams.

So a question arises: if students are losing so much valuable sleep during this hectic time, should taking exams be reconsidered altogether? Michael Scullin, an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor University and Director of the Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory says that exams should be kept but they should be cumulative.

“That’s best for learning because it distributes practice and capitalizes on the “testing effect.” For the last couple years, I’ve made all my tests cumulative and the feedback is always the same: students are more intimidated by Test 2, but they feel better and are better prepared by the final exam.”

Michael Scullin, Assistant Professor, Baylor University

student juggling jobs and school and sports and multiple responsibilities

Of course, it can be argued that students do this to themselves by leaving their preparation and studying to the last minute. However, it’s rare to find students who are on top of their school work week by week due to other commitments they have such as work, family, extra-curriculars, and even their social life; because at the end of the day, students are young and growing and want to experience new things during school.

Maybe our next research topic will be on how many students stay on top of their school work during the semester, and how they balance all of their commitments, you’ll only know if you stay tuned to follow along and gain some valuable insights for your learning!

Also, for any students out there, we invite you to fill out our survey below, it’ll only take 3 minutes and since this article will be consistently updated with new data, it’ll allow us to present some really cool findings for you that you can tell all your friends about.

Remember to keep the mentioned tips in mind to do your best in your exams! To prepare you for final exams we got you covered here too, check out these 25 tips on how to write any type of exam! Best of luck, you can do this!

Here are some additional articles we recommend: 

Final Exam Stress Makes you Sick: 7 Tips on How to Stay Healthy

How to Write Exams: 25 Successful Exam Techniques for Multiple Choice, Essay, and Mathematics Questions

57.5% of College Graduates Don’t Work in Their Field of Study

Final Exam Stress Makes you Sick: 7 Tips on How to Stay Healthy

Many students get sick during exams, but why? There are a few theories out there explaining this, but more importantly, we have some effective ways to stay healthy and help you fight off any sickness during this stressful time!

Picture this: after weeks of intense studying, cramming as much information you can into your brain, and wishing you kept up with your readings throughout the semester, you approach your first exam and feel a sense of relief after finishing it. But that’s just the start. You’re back to the library right away without even having the chance to pat yourself on the back to study for your next exam.

After rinsing and repeating, you finally finish your last exam of the semester and you’re FINALLY ready to celebrate and treat yourself.

BUT, you suddenly feel some soreness, a cough or two, and now you’re incredibly tired. Then it hits you and you realize that you’re very sick.

If this has ever happened to you, you’re not alone. Thousands of students get sick right after exam season and are left wondering why? Although there isn’t a definitive explanation for this, there has been a few theories that could explain why exactly you get sick right after exams.

*OR if you just want to know how to stay healthy during exams, click the link below!*

7 Tips on How to Stay Healthy During Exams

3 Theories: Why you Get Sick after Exams

Theory #1: Stress: The Let-Down Effect

picture of young caucasian male putting his hand on his palm due to stress

According to Marc Shoen, a psychologist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCLA, the Let-Down Effect is when an illness or flare-ups of a chronic condition occurs after a stressful period ends.

Shoen says that after stress dies down, there’s “a down-regulation of the immune system, a suppression of the immune response, [as a reaction] to the easing of stress.” Meaning that when the immune response lowers its guard, the chance of getting sick increases.

One study actually found that panic attacks occur more frequently on the weekends than the weekdays; suggesting that people can get stressed and overwhelmed at work/school during the weekdays and then feels the after-effects of this stress right after the stressful period (the week) ends.

Theory #2: Lack of Sleep

Whether you prepared well in advance for your exam or not, it is likely that the amount of sleep you get before your exams will decrease; especially so if you left everything to the last minute (which is very common).

A study was done where 153 people volunteered to receive a dose of rhinovirus (one of the main causes of the common cold). The result was that people with less than 7 hours of sleep were 3x more likely to get a cold than people with more than 8 hours of sleep.

If you’re only sleeping a few hours a night the days leading up to your exams, this could very well explain why you get sick so much easier.

Theory #3: Travel

Since many students live away from home and therefore visits home during the holidays (ie. after exams), they’re put in situations where they’re surrounded by other students who are also at a higher risk of getting sick.

When congregating many individuals who are at high risk of getting sick due to lack of sleep and stress, it makes sense that traveling and coming into contact with others is a likely reason why you can get sick easily after exams.

One thing all of these theories have in common is a drastic change in circumstances; a drastic change in stress levels, amount of sleep, and contact with other people. According to ScienceLine, this drastic change is the main cause of sickness as the immune system “relies on the coordination of many different types of cells…and physiological conditions that alter the balance between the immune branches or the function of individual immune cells may have detrimental health effects”.

But, don’t worry too much! There are a lot of ways to stay healthy during exam season so that you don’t get sick right after. We got you covered.

7 Tips: How to Stay Healthy During Exam Season

#1: Avoid Excess Caffeine

man dumping out caffeine pills

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that pounding back numerous cups of coffee will help you but in the long run, you increase the chances of you crashing, making you more tired, and increasing your chances of getting sick! You can see how this is counter-intuitive.

#2: Take Breaks

One of the most inefficient things you can do while studying is forcing yourself to study 10 hours straight with no breaks. Not only does your health suffer, but it is also much harder to soak in the information you’re reading (which is the most important. Don’t forget!).

#3: Catch Plenty of Z’s

Although it’s easier said than done, make sure you’re giving yourself a good amount of sleep every night, even if it’s the night before your exam. The less sleep you get, the more likely it is that you’ll get sick during and even after your exams!

#4 Eat your Greens!

While junk food can be incredibly tempting as a quick snack during exams, it really doesn’t help to keep you focused and alert while studying. It’s tough (we know), but even substituting one junk snack for fruits and vegetables can really help with your concentration and energy.

A study by Marcos et al found that immune suppression (lowered defense of the immune system) did not occur in students that ate food containing lactobacillus bacteria (found in yogurt). So be sure to stock up on yogurt for this upcoming exam season!

#5 Stay Hydrated

It’s shocking how many health benefits water can bring you. This is definitely a necessity during exam season, especially if you’re looking to alternatives like caffeine or pop. Staying hydrated can prevent headaches, reduce soreness, and a multitude of other things so make sure you have a water bottle beside you at all times!

#6 Exercise!

It’s easy to make the excuse that you have no time to exercise during this hectic time but it’s one of the most impactful things you can do for your health. If you don’t believe us, some scientists actually suggest that if you’re going to do only one thing to reduce your chances of getting dementia, it’s exercise.

Exercising whether it’s going to the gym or even taking a brisk walk will help your brain’s blood flow and re-energize you if you’re struggling to concentrate.

#7 Pace Yourself

animation of cat and girl taking a deep breath

If you control the amount of stress that you experience by taking breaks, exercising, eating healthy, and sleeping, it will be much harder for you to get sick due to the regularity and healthiness of your habits. Ensuring that your body is not revved up 24/7 by taking even the smallest breaks or getting that extra 30 minutes of sleep can go a very long way.

Without a doubt, exam season is an incredibly stressful time for most students. But sometimes you just need to take a step back and realize that it’s not the end of the world and you can make it through this!

One thing to add is that this isn’t limited to just students. These tips can apply to many people that are involved in exam season, ESPECIALLY teachers and professors. From creating the exam material to making sure all processes are in place to even marking the exams, teachers are at risk of getting sick from all of the stress exam season can bring. So to all the teachers out there, keep these tips in mind!

To minimize the stress and negative health impacts that exams can bring to you, make sure you keep these tips in mind and you’ll minimize the chances of you getting sick and missing out on treating yourself!

Since you know now how to stay healthy during exams, all you need to know is how to ACE your exams. You’re in luck because here are 25 Effective Exam Writing Techniques to help you get through exam season!

How to Write Exams: 25 Successful Exam Techniques for Multiple Choice, Essay, and Mathematics Questions

Got a final exam coming up and worried about how to approach it? It’s that time of the year now where there will be all sorts of exams coming up: term tests, final exams, midterm exams, etc. and if it’s worth a big percentage of your grade, it can be pretty intimidating. Especially so if you’re going in without a plan or strategy in mind. That’s why we’re here! We got you covered with 15 exam techniques for multiple choice, essay, and quantitative questions AND 10 essential general exam techniques.

15 Exam Techniques for Multiple Choice, Essay, and Quantitative Questions

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Read the Entire Question

spongebob reading a book to study for exams with glasses on

Even if you believe you know the answer after reading a few words, make sure you read the whole question before you record your answer. Taking a few more seconds to read the questions could make the difference between a right and wrong answer.

2. Answer First

Try to answer the question before seeing the answers. This allows you to be the most certain of your answer instead of just choosing one of the potential answers without deciding on your own.

3. Process of Elimination

crossing out multiple choice questions on exam

Read each answer and cross out the ones you know for sure are incorrect. This will make choosing the right answer much easier because you can visually see the number of options decrease and narrow down, making the decision clearer and easier to make.

4. On to the Next One

Stuck on a question? To save time, move to the next question and solve the ones that you know first. Then, come back to the ones you were unsure about. This will save you time and potential stress from facing a challenging question.

5. No Blanks

keep calm and leave no blanks

Even if you tried multiple tactics and are still unsure of a question, make sure to make an educated guess. Usually, leaving a question blank will still result in a wrong answer so you might as well have a chance at getting the question right through a guess than not having a chance at all by leaving it blank.

Essay Questions

1. Outline

It’s tempting to just start throwing whatever is in your mind down on the paper but taking the extra few minutes to create an outline will make writing it so much easier. It will give you a much better organized and ultimately save you time in the long run. Also, if you run out of time, you can still get part marks for your outline.

2. Double Space

A very small thing to keep in mind but it can make a big impact on your grade. Double spacing will make your professor/examiner’s job that much easier and that itself can go a long way.

3. Read the Question

Of course, understanding what topic to write about is important but equally, if not more, important is what exactly about the topic the question is asking about. Pay attention to words like discuss, compare, analyze, etc.

-Discuss: Give overall picture. Broad understanding

-Compare: Compare two topics/items

-Analyze: Give a detailed analysis of the topic

4. Concise Sentences

Make sure that your sentences are not ongoing and it sounds like you’re rambling. Writing in clear and concise sentences is a lot easier for your examiner to understand and be convinced that you are sure of what you are talking about.

5. What is the Question?

Basketball player scratching his head

When writing an essay it’s very easy to get lost in the many sentences you’re writing. Always make sure that what you’re writing is tying back to the main question at hand and is contributing to answering it.

Mathematics Questions 

1. Formulas

If you’re not allowed a cheat sheet, make sure you write down the formulas you need somewhere on your exam before starting to make sure you don’t forget them. If you don’t know the formula you won’t be able to answer the question!

2. Check

Since there are many steps where numbers can be miscalculated, especially in a long question, make sure to check if your answer makes sense. If your answer to a question about how much revenue a huge company like Apple generated in a year is $500, you’re most likely wrong. Work backwards to see where you miscalculated!

3. Organization

When showing calculation steps, make sure to be as organized as possible. Even if you get the wrong final answer, it is very likely you’ll get part marks for attempting and showing the right steps.

4. Word Problems

In a long word problem, make sure to give it a thorough read and highlight/circle the numbers and key facts so you don’t have to focus on the irrelevant details (since word problems include these details to throw you off). Always ask if there is information you don’t need and cross them off or ignore them.

5. Don’t Forget the Small Things

Sometimes the small things can have big impacts. Make sure to have the proper units (kg, g, mg, etc.) and appropriate decimals

If you keep even just a few of these exam techniques in mind, it’ll help a great deal with your organization and confidence when going into your next multiple choice, essay, or quantitative exam. To make sure you can get all of the resources as you can to help you with your next exam, we have 10 of the top general exam techniques for your exams right below, check it out!

TOP 10 General Exam Techniques

1. Attitude

gif of girl reasurring viewers

Before even looking at your exam paper, make sure you’re in a positive mindset rather than a negative one. Starting a 3 hour exam that’s worth 50% of your grade is daunting task for sure but feeling anxious and nervous won’t help the situation especially if you don’t have any exam techniques to convert those negative feelings into positivity and productivity.

Take a few deep breaths, realize that you know more about the subject than you think (this is often the case), and start your exam with a positive attitude

2. Quick Scan

Once you open your exam, make sure to quickly but thoroughly read over the instructions and questions to make sure everything is clear. This also gives you the chance to see how much each question is worth to give you an idea of how long you should spend on each question.

This will make sure you don’t spend an hour on a question that’s worth only 10% of your exam!

3. Make a Plan

If there are options, choose which ones you are going to answer. Of course, choose the ones that you know the most about!

Plan how long you will spend on each question and what order you’ll answer the questions in based on their weighting and difficulty.

4. Easy Questions First

Solving the easy questions first will make sure you’re getting marks for the questions that you know you can solve for sure; and of course, every mark counts.

Additionally, it will create confidence and momentum going forward which will be very useful for the more challenging questions.

5. Clear and Concise

When answering a question, it is almost always better to be clear and to the point than to ramble on about something unrelated to the question. It wastes your time and your energy and suggests to the examiner/marker that you aren’t sure of your answer.

In addition, the examiner probably has hundreds of exams to mark so making it easy for them will benefit you as well. So ensure your answers clear and concise, easy to read, and organized. A small thing like this can really go a long way.

6. Time Management

Always make sure you are looking at the time. You could be stuck on a question and next thing you know an hour passes! Make sure you are going to the pace that you had planned for yourself.

One thing that makes exams such a stressful task is the time crunch. It can really throw students off their focus and concentration, leaving them frustrated and overly stressed during the exam. If this happens, take a 1-2 minute break by putting your pen down, and closing your eyes. Sometimes we all need a break and 1-2 minutes can help you refocus and potentially make the difference between a pass or a fail!

7. Brain Food

If you are allowed, try to bring in water and some snacks that you can nibble on during the exam. Not only will it give you something to destress with while taking a short break, but healthy snacks can give you that extra boost or kick to help you stay focused and alert during an exam. Some great brain food examples are:

-Nuts (all kinds, especially walnuts)

-Dark Chocolate

-Anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables: Blueberries, Citrus Fruit and Peppers

-Naturally caffeinated drinks: Green tea, Coffee

8. Review

A lot of people may not think this is important but it’s something that is strongly recommended. If you just spend 5 minutes maximum to quickly go through your answers, it could save you a lot of marks that you would have gotten wrong otherwise.

Reviewing can help you spot answers that on second thought don’t make sense, calculation errors, etc.

9. Essential Things to Remember

The following may seem obvious but there is a surprising amount of incidents where these are forgotten or done incorrectly, making these very important exam techniques (tips) as well:

-Check both sides of each paper to make sure you don’t miss any questions

-Don’t forget your name and date. Also, if you have a nickname and an official name, make sure you put the official name that is registered with the university!

-Fill in the scantron properly. Make sure you’re filling in the answers for the right question, or else the incorrect order of your answers could result in all of the following answers being wrong!

Making sure to do these could really make the difference in a pass or a fail so make sure you don’t make these silly errors!

10. MOST IMPORTANT: Prepare!

These exam techniques and tips will help you during an exam but it goes without saying that the most important thing to do to ace an exam is to, you guessed it, STUDY!

If you know the material like the back of your hand then it will be much easier for you to get that A. Of course, it’s easier said than done so in addition to these exam techniques, we have some great note taking tips and memorization tips to help you study for your next exam, check them out!

Top 6 Memorization Techniques

How to Take Study Notes: 5 Effective Note Taking Methods and Essential Tips

How to Cite Study Guides in APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard and Vancouver (2018)

Doing an assignment and stuck on how to cite study guides? You’ve come to the right place. See below on how to cite study guides for your assignment through MLA, APA, and Chicago referencing styles.


Cite Study Guides in: MLA 8

According to Massey University, since there is no specific format to cite study guides under the MLA style, they should be treated like books. If an individual author is listed, use their name. Otherwise, put the title in as the author.


To cite in-text, you would cite the original source’s author and not the author of the study guide. Similarly, use the page number of the original source, not the page number of the study guide.


Author: (John, 24)

Author + No Page Number: (John)

No Author: (“Beehive updating job,” 24)


References List:

Again, since there’s no specific format to cite study guides, you would treat it as a book. See below for what the format would be in the references list at the end of your assignment!



Sam B. 139.139 Introduction to Science: Study Guide One. School of Science,                      Ohio State U, 2008, p. 24

No Page Number:

139.139 Introduction to Science: Study Guide One. School of Science, Ohio                           State U, 2008

No Author:

139.139 Introduction to Science: Study Guide One. School of Science, Ohio                           State U, 2008, p. 24


Cite Study Guides in: APA

According to Massey University, like MLA, there is no specific format to cite study guides and so they should be treated like books as well. If an author is not listed, use the name of the school/institute instead.



To cite intext, cite the individual author (or group of authors). It should contain basic information about the source:

1. Author(s)

2. Publication Year

3. Page number (sometimes)

Example: (same as MLA)

Author: (John, 2007)

Author + Page Number: (John, 2007, p. 14)

No Author: (“Beehive updating job,” 2007)


References List:

Again, since there’s no specific format to cite study guides, you would treat it as a book. See below for what the format would be in the references list at the end of your assignment!



Sam, B. (2008). 179.704 Business studies: Study Guide. Palmerston North,                       New Zealand: School of Business, Massey University. 

Author + Page Number:

Sam, B. (2008). 179.704 Business studies: Study Guide. Palmerston North,                       New Zealand: School of Business, Massey University, 10-14

No Author:

School of Business, Massey University. (2008). 179.704 Business Studies:                        Study Guide. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Author.


Cite Study Guides in: CHICAGO STYLE

Under the Chicago Style, you would cite study guides as books or journal articles. Refer to page numbers from the study guide, not the original source.



1. Footnotes/endnotes are used to reference pieces of work in-text.

2. A superscript number is used after a quote or paraphrase.

3. Citation numbers should be ordered sequentially.

4. Each number should correspond to a citation, endnote, or footnote.

5. Endnotes must appear on an endnotes page. The page should be titled Notes and should appear right before the bibliography.

6. Footnotes are at the bottom of the page they are referred to.

You must include the author’s first name, last name, title, place of publication, publisher name, year and referenced pages.

Example In-Text:

Brittney found that “The milk was very cold” (33-34).1

Example Footnotes/Endnotes:.
1. John Doe, The Best of New York, (New York, Hamilton, 2003), 2.

References List:

According to Murdoch University, this is the standard format for citation:

Author, A. Year. Title: Subtitle. Edition. Place of publication: Name of Publisher.



One Author:

Walker, J. 2018. ECON 1000 Study Guide. 2nd ed. New York: New York University

Two Authors:

Walker, J. and Jesse, A. 2018. ECON 1000 Study Guide. 2nd ed. New York: New York University

Three or More Authors:

Jonathan Walker, Alan Jesse, Albert Black and Joe Ray. 2018. ECON 1000 Study Guide. 2nd ed. New York: New York University


Cite Study Guides in: HARVARD STYLE

An image of the Harvard referencing style logo

According to Southern Cross University, to cite study guides, you would treat it as the print version of a PDF, which includes the place of publication and publisher.

If there is no obvious author, the title would simply replace the author name.



Page number unavailable: (Author Surname Year)

Page number available: (Author Surname Year, page number)

No Author: (Study Guide Title Year)


Page number available: (Jenkins 2018)

Page number unavailable: (Jenkins 2018, p. 36)

No Author: (MATH 1010 Study Guide 2018)


References List:

Again, the study guide would be treated as the print version. Below is the format in your references list.



Jenkins, J (2018), MATH 1010 Study Guide, 4th edn, Auburn University, Auburn.

No Author:

MATH 1010 Study Guide, 2018, Auburn University, Auburn.

Cite Study Guides in: VANCOUVER STYLE

An image of the Vancouver referencing style logo

This style is similar to the Chicago Style where superscript numbers are used to reference in-text. Study guides are treated as books or journal articles.



As mentioned, superscript numbers are used in-text. They are generally placed at the end of the sentence, unless there are 2 citations in a sentence, outside of periods and commas, and inside colons and semicolons.

If a quote is longer than 4 lines, it should be indented as a block, in a smaller font, and without quotation marks. Then the superscript number would be at the end of the block.


One Reference: “In her research, Abigail 25 found that…”

Multiple References: “Many research studies have shown that…1,2,6,7

Multiple References (inclusive): “Many research studies have shown that…1-7


References List:

Again, the study guide would be treated as a book or a journal article. Below is the format in your references list, according to Wilkes.

Author(s) of book. Title of book. Edition (if other than first). Place of publication: Publisher; Year of publication.


One Author:

Jenkins J. MATH 1010 Study Guide. 8th ed. Auburn: Auburn University; 2018.

Multiple Authors:

Jenkins J, Farrell A, Jokic T. MATH 1010 Study Guide. 8th ed. Auburn: Auburn University; 2018.

No Author:

MATH 1010 Study Guide. 8th ed. Auburn: Auburn University; 2018.

Citations and references are tricky because there’s always a particular way to do it depending on the referencing style. But hopefully, this can help you out with your assignment(s) coming up!

If you’re looking for more study guides to cite or reference, there are tons here, check it out!:

Also, if you’re stuck on how to cite lecture notes, we got you covered for this too: How to Cite Lecture Notes in MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard and Vancouver (2018)