Study Tips from Academy Alum: Danica Rodriguez

Academy Alum, Danica Rodriguez, now works as the resource specialist here at Academy.  She has also been helping out girls with their study habits.  Here, she shares ideas on how Academy girls should study for an exam, as well as what she used to do as a student here at Academy.  It has been beneficial to girls who are stressing over finals, which are less than a week away.

What were your old study habits as an academy student?

“I had great teachers while I was here and they helped me get a system of organizing myself.  I would study a little bit at a time (which is what the teachers taught me) and now that’s what I’m teaching to other girls.  I would also have a big review day before my test.  It took me a while to get adjusted to what fit me, but after freshman year I got the hang of it.”

What teachers did you have while you were at Academy that are still here now?

“Mrs. Kearney, Mrs. VanPelt , Mrs. Nazaretian, Mrs. Zambrano, Mr. Sloshberg, Mrs. Swafford, Mrs. Nutter, Sister Mary Glavin, Sister Anne Regan, and Mrs. Chase.”

If you could change anything you did back then what would it be?

“I would stress a lot less and stop working myself up a lot.  I wish I would have just studied to the best of my ability and then let it go and not do the after-worrying.  It is so not worth it looking back.”

How do you recommend going about studying for a hard exam and an easy exam?

“For a hard exam you want to do a lot of upfront studying and figure out the hard parts. Break it down, seek help, and spend time on it early on.  Spend an hour working on the hard things now, but for easier exams, just spend 15 minutes a day studying.  Just do it effectively and not be on your phone or Netflix.  Set a timer on your phone to create intervals that give yourself break.  Go back and look at things every day and revise everything.”

How should girls go about studying the night before an exam?

“The night before an exam should only be for review.  Make sure you study before hand.  Go through and ask yourself questions  (ex. go over a hard math problem or hard english vocabulary). Talk it out with a friend and help each other understand the concepts.”

How much sleep should a girl get before exams?

“Depends on the person, but I would recommend at least 8-10 hours of sleep.  It is so important for your brain to feel well rested.”

What would be a healthy breakfast?

“Something balanced and not too heavy. Just something to carry you through the morning. Something hearty like oatmeal or yogurt with fruit.  Apples are also a great choice because what most people don’t know is that they have a natural caffeine that will keep you alert for the day. Also, stay away from sugar or sugary cereals.”

How do you avoid procrastination?

“The biggest way to avoid procrastination is allowing yourself break time. Knowing you have a break is going to get you through it. Setting your phone and giving yourself a little break will make it easier to go back to your work.”

How do you feel about flashcards?

“I love flashcards, I’m a huge flashcards person.  I’m visual and kinesthetic learner so they help me immensely.  If you’re an auditory learner then don’t waste your time with them. The biggest thing people mess up with flashcards is not actively learning them.  The best way to do this is by writing the information in your own words. It helps you understand the concepts better.”

I wish I would have just studied to the best of my ability and then let it go and not do the after-worrying. It is so not worth it looking back.”

— Danica Rodriguez

How long should you study at one time?

“It depends on which courses you struggle with, and which are easy.  Earlier this month I sent out a calendar with study ideas and on there I put for the haver stuff spend at least an hour in the material and for easier classes on spend thirty minutes. On a lighter night review things for 30-40 minutes.  Also don’t forget to set time intervals to help you get more studying done.”

Is listening to music helpful for when you study, or is it harmful?

“It really depends on the person.  If you think music distracts you, then it is not for you. But, if you can zone it out, it can be beneficial because to block out unwanted back thoughts. But if not, you have to be strict with yourself and say ‘No music.’”

What advice can you give a girl who bombs an exam?

“Ask yourself, ‘Did you fully follow these tips “to the t” or are you lying to yourself? Did you cut off music and tv? Are you being honest with yourself?  If you are, try something different. The frustrating part is that you are going to study, not necessarily the subjects, but how to approach them. Be patient with yourself and try different things; try to find out what works for you.  At the end of the day you girls need to remember that you are in a stage where you need find who you are. What may have worked for you freshman year may not work your junior year. You just need to find what works for you.”

If you have any more questions or would like to talk to Ms. Rodriguez, visit her in her room N309 or email her at [email protected].