Having excellent studying skills and habits are essential for achieving a high ATAR, but they don’t stop the minute you finish your last ATAR exam, they are skills you will continue to use and refine throughout your university career.
My school had a big emphasis on developing study skills from the very start, which I credit to being one of the reasons I achieved a high ATAR score, got into the University of my choice, and went on to complete both a Bachelors and Masters Degree. I don’t think I would be where I am today without the study skills I learnt, and the ones I developed on my own.
1. Minimise Distractions
Little interruptions may feel small, but if you add them all up, it ends up being a huge chunk of time gone.
2. Have your necessities ready
Make yourself a study kit, with whatever you need for studying, so you can just grab it when you need it.
3. Find your ideal study location
Try to find somewhere you feel comfortable for a long period of time, and if it isn’t in your house, and somewhere that is easy to get to.
4. Natural Light
Having a source of natural light will not only make you feel more relaxed, but it will cause less strain on your eyes, meaning you won’t have to cut your study session short.
5. Find a reliable study group
It may be fun to form a study group with your best friends, but if you know deep down they aren’t committed to studying in the same way as you, they may end up being more of a distraction.
6. You deserve a break
Know when to take breaks and don’t feel guilty for it.
7. Handwrite your notes first, then type them up
Typing your notes may feel like the quickest way to take them, but if you handwrite them and then type them up later, you are getting a jump on the revision process.
8. Timed Practice tests
Practice and past exams are usually readily available for you to practice and get used to the format and time limits.
9. Get study notes down to one key page
Only put what you actually need on notes. Too much information will be overwhelming.
10. Don’t cram right before the exam
It may feel like the best thing to do before going into an exam but it will probably make you feel more stressed.
11. Make the time
Put aside the time to actually study. Try to find a time where you don’t feel rushed.
12. Yellow paper
Some studies have shown that using yellow note paper can help with memory and recollection.
13. Note taking Methods
Cornel method, mind-maps or one you made up on your own. As long as your notes are organised they are going to be easier to keep track of.
14. Use colour
Like the yellow note paper, using colour can help with memory. Use highlighters, coloured pens or both to sort key information.
Try to create a relaxed atmosphere in your study space. If you listen to music when you study, try to chill music, preferably with no words so your focus is on what you are studying.
16. Take advantage of all the resources
Your high school, public or state library and some universities run workshops for high schoolers for developing study skills and offer resources for exams.
17. Post its and notes around your study area
Put up notes or formulas around your bedroom or study space with short, key pieces of information that you can take in at a glance.
Make a real effort by putting 100% of your energy and attention.
19. Explain it to someone
Try explaining key concepts to someone who has no knowledge. It will help you summarise and find out where gaps are.
20. The rule of 3’s
Studies have shown that memory works best in groups of threes. Try breaking down formulas or dates into a group of three.
21. Have a method
Know which subject you are studying for and when. Keep track of what you have studied and when
22. Develop a study routine
Find the study routine that works for you. Once you find what works for you, it will be easier to get into study mode quicker.
23. Start studying well in advance
Start studying and compiling your notes at the beginning of the year. Not only will it make you more organised, but it will help with your ability to recall information.
24. Summarise your notes.
Before you wrap up for the day or switch to another subject, jot down 5-7 key points from what you’ve just been studying- this can be used for developing your final study notes
Don’t just take notes and never look at them again.
26. Don’t force it
If you’ve been reading the same paragraph over and over give it a rest and try again later. You probably won’t take any information in and you will just end up getting frustrated.
27. Know when to ask for help
If you are really struggling there are resources available to you that are there to help.
28. Know when to stop
Just like knowing when to take a break, know when you’ve had hit your limit for the day.
29. Find what works for you
Don’t listen to what other people say you need to do, and focus on what works for you.
30. Try as hard as you can.
You get out what you put in, and if you are really committed and work hard across the entire year, you are likely to achieve your goal.