Curious about strange studying habits: Anyone care to divulge?

Well, we’re pretty much full on into the exam period, and seeing students shuffle from one place to another (be it an exam or a library, etc) brings back some vague memories of my own undergrad (a long time ago, I actually lived at Totem Park). Anyway, I was a crammer, although not necessarily a good one. I remember chocolate covered coffee beans were a big thing and knew someone on my floor who (to blow off steam) would don a bedsheet like a cape and prance around shouting “I AM CAPTAIN PROCASTINATOR! I FEAR INORGANIC CHEM!”

Anyway, just wanted to send out a quick query to see if anyone wants to share any strange study habits or funny studying stories. Should be good for a laugh – and maybe to make this a little academic, if you could clarify whether you’re telling an anecdote about an Arts student or a Science student (or Applied Science, or Commerce, etc), then maybe we can look for a trend.

If you do play, pass it on – the more the merrier.

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at

11 Responses to “Curious about strange studying habits: Anyone care to divulge?”

  1. jim

    Not so much a habit, but a special studying power. I have a friend in Physics who can literally will herself to power nap for 10 minutes. It’s strange in that she can actually somehow magically wake herself up after the “10 minutes” and then feel totally refreshed. This, you can guess, pisses me off to no end…

  2. J.J.S. Boyce

    My crazy study habit my last year of physics was spending five hours a day in the library, seven days a week, all year. During the last two months I increased to about seven hours a week. During the last month I was up to 10. For the last two weeks it was 12. For the last two days I didn’t sleep.

    Unfortunately, once I got to that level, there were no more tricks, no more last-ditch efforts. We all just had to be on the ball from day one, for the entire school year, and crank it up a notch whenever our projected completion date wasn’t matching up with the actual time we had left.

    During my third year I took intermediate calc and learned the whole course in two days. I was so exhausted I had nothing left to prepare for my other exams and all my grades went down a half or full letter.

  3. Kerrie

    After acing a History 12 exam, I became convinced that wearing a rainbow plaid skirt, flannel plaid shirt, rainbow socks, and a woolen plaid scarf was the magic recipe for acing exams.

    A couple failed Spanish midterms and an episode of “What Not To Wear” later, and I now rely on actually studying.

  4. Erin York

    In my days in Totem, I lived on an all girls floor. As soon as classes ended, we would all “study” together by bringing the lounge chairs into little pods. By about the 3rd day of exams, everyone was living in these pods and they became more nests then anything else. Everyone brought all of their blankets and pillows and wrapped up. It was frightening now that I think back.

  5. Dave Semeniuk

    Years ago, I had a friend who used to walk into the “indoor smoking lounge” in the college I was attending, and just hang out for about ~15 minutes before a final exam. He didn’t smoke, but he swore it took off his nervous edge while giving him an “edge” over the competition. Meanwhile, another friend was in the campus bar downing a pint to take off his edge, while another fervently believed drinking a slurpee right before a final was her trick. For science students, we were mighty superstitious…

  6. Chrissy

    The killer for me and my study friends (we’re in sociology) is Facebook. It’s so easy to waste so much time there. Anyway, we have Facebook moratoriums, and Facebook binges which can get after a certain amount of studying.

    The crazy thing is, is that often the Facebooky things we do involve each other. There’s a sociology project in that I bet.

  7. Gajan

    I’m surprised no one’s said exam beard yet. Sure I look like a hobo, but it does help (knock on wood). And I know i’m not the only one who does it.

  8. Vivian

    I have the world’s shortest attention span and can focus no longer than maybe 10-15 minutes per interval. My friend, who has graduated now from the International Relations program here, has an amazing way of concentrating. When she was in her last year and me in my second, she told me once that as soon as she gets into studying, she won’t look up from her book for at least 4 hours.

    She’s probably lying, or at least that’s how I comfort myself.

  9. Laurence

    In the past four years I have come to understand that I cannot study in silence. If I go to the library, the very faintest sound, such as someone flipping a page will annoy me. On the other hand, if there’s so much going on that I can’t pick up on any of them, I can really concentrate. Hence, my constance appearance at local coffee shops to study. And the numbers of students in such places lately seem to confirm that I am not the only one….

    Oh yes, and I like to think that I can multitask by watching tv and studying at the same time. But I know that I remember much more when I turn the tv off.

  10. Leigh-Anne

    During exams, I have remarkably weird sleep habits and inevitably end up alternating between study and sleep every 3 hours or so instead of getting a good night’s sleep like a normal person. Though perhaps my strangest (and nerdiest) study habit is writing songs or poetry to solidify concepts. I wrote a song called “You’re So Invasive” before my Bio exam today (you know, as in invasive species).

    Oh, I’m an aggie.

  11. Brenda

    Before the last round of midterms, I would procrastinate by blogging about everyday life and analyzing it through theories or concepts I was going to get tested on. This was mostly unintentional, but now that I look back, I find that it helped me remember and relate subjects to examples!
    I’m a psych / family studies major.

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