You’ve signed up for a course, paid your registration fee, and started working your way through the first unit. But when it comes time for the unit quiz (or, if applicable, the dreaded certification exam itself), do you know the best way to prepare yourself? Good study habits can make or break your performance in a course, so it’s vital to find a routine that works best for you. Thankfully, these tips can help you get the most from your study time.

Recall Helps Memory

As anyone who has ever tried to cram for a test can confirm, reading the same information over and over again in hopes of retaining it doesn’t always yield the best results. Instead, read a small section of information, then force yourself to repeat it back from memory, either by writing it down or by simply restating it in your head. Believe it or not, your brain is far more likely to retain what you just read if you put yourself through these mini-quiz scenarios on a regular basis.

Sleep > Studying

No, this doesn’t mean that you should put off your studies in favor of taking as many naps as possible. But if you’re planning to pull an all-nighter to prepare, consider calling it quits early instead. Sleep helps your brain process and retain information, so while you might spend less time in front of your books, you’re more likely to remember what you did read.

Use Mnemonic Devices

Can’t quite remember a definition or other specific piece of information? Try associating it with something unique to aid in your memory. For example, if you’re taking an Anatomy & Terminology course but you’re struggling to remember the term “infarction,” consider that “farc” rhymes with “park” and “park” is what happens when a car stops just as infarction is what happens when the blood supply to an area stops. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but such absurd examples are exactly the kinds of things that will stick in your brain.

Whether this is your first class or your hundredth, chances are you’ll spend a fair amount of your time studying. To get the most out of your time, it’s essential to optimize your good study habits in any way you can to ensure you pass your courses and stay headed down the road to academic success.