Study Secrets Shhh, these are the tips and tricks that will allow you to study effectively and efficiently.
For many students, the last couple of weeks before a big exam can be very stressful. The trick is discovering how to use stress and adrenaline to your advantage to increase productivity and ultimately exam results.
Time Management You may have heard of this tip before, however, its importance is undeniable. To successfully study, you must plan and schedule your time based on due dates and priorities. If you plan out your time from today till the exam, you can allow an adequate amount of time to prepare each task adequately. By creating to-do lists, schedules or a planner/diary, you can organize your time and ensure you can ensure all your tasks are given the appropriate amount of your time and none are completed last minute – no one likes pulling all nighters.
Study Environment It has been proven in many studies that your brain cannot multitask and what we commonly refer to as ‘multi-tasking’ is merely our ability to change between multiple tasks very quickly. This means that distractions while we are studying can cause us to forget the last two minutes of content we just learnt! To help you concentrate and get the most out of your study, be sure to find a quiet and undisrupted area that allows you to focus. If you enjoy studying with music, be sure it has no words as your brain is unable to process both the lyrics and the work you are trying to learn at the same time. This may require you to put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and leave it out of arms reach as you will find that you will be too lazy to get up and grab it off another table.
Strengths and Weaknesses The best way to improve is to be honest with yourself regarding your strengths and weaknesses. If you are aware that a particular topic is quite confusing, be proactive in asking your teacher and tutor for extra assistance and revision questions. Although you may not like the topic as it is quite challenging, do not be afraid to continually work on it as persistence is key. Be sure to allocate appropriate time to revise this topic, as it may take more time to go through your notes and understand the examples. In saying this, do not forget about your strengths. It is important to work on your strengths and make your knowledge and understanding of them better. You will be kicking yourself if you don’t leave time for your stronger topics and make a silly mistake in the exam because you didn’t practice. Everyone has topics they understand easily and others that are more confusing, just work to improve both areas as much as possible.
Consistency is Key Don’t radically change anything about your study pattern right before a big exam. Everyone has different study habits and although it takes time to perfect an ideal study pattern, drastic changes are usually not the answer. Begin to figure out what techniques work best for you as an individual learner and implement these methods. If you think your method of study is not effective or efficient, feel free to speak to your teacher or tutor about their recommendations – they were students too and they probably have multiple students asking the same questions, meaning they have heaps of advice to share.
Study Everyday You are better off studying a range of subjects everyday rather than spending a whole day focusing on one topic or subject. Not only will you get bored of doing the same thing for multiple hours, but by the time you get back to a particular subject or topic it would have been so long ago that you have almost completely forgotten it. Constant revision of all the work you have completed at school is the key to remembering and ingraining concepts into your brain.
Past Exam Papers Past exam papers are the key to success in exams. These exams give you the most accurate representations of the types of questions, the difficulty of the paper and what to expect in your exam. It shows you how hard the final questions are and you may even notice a pattern in the types of questions the papers focus on. Be sure to ask your teacher and tutors for past papers and revision material. If there are no past papers, do not give up hope – simply find the chapter reviews at the end of each chapter in your Maths textbook or other textbooks or simply google “practice essay questions”.
Stressing about Stress When you stress, your body releases a chemical that can cloud your judgement and make it harder to concentrate. Now, this is not meant to scare you, it’s merely there to remind you that a little bit of stress can help you be productive, but too much can be counterproductive. The most important thing to remember is that all your exams and assignments are on the topics and content you have been learning at school. The exam might have some tricky questions, but by attending class and studying at home, the material should be familiar to you. Remember, no matter how much you stress, the exam will still be on the same day at the same time, and no amount of stress will change that. So, you might as well eliminate the stress out of your life and allow yourself to focus and concentrate.
Take Care of Yourself Remember, take care of yourself! You should keep up with social activities, physical exercise, a consistent sleep schedule and healthy eating. Nourishing your body will help your brain to function and socialising is good for your mental health as it relieves stress. Get enough sleep! 7-9 hours is recommended. You will do better being rested than you would staying up all night cramming to study. Sleep helps your brain process and remember what you have just learnt. Avoid caffeine and sugar, as these will make you jittery for a while before crashing. You are at school for 13 years before potentially attending university or TAFE for up to 7 years, so allow yourself to enjoy studying and enjoy the process of learning and developing your mind.
Tips from Maths Words not Squiggles which works with students to build their confidence both inside and outside the classroom.