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Top Study Tips for Students
Exam season is just around the corner, which means it’s time to knuckle down and start studying for those all-important exams.
Work hard for the next few months and you’ll be able to let loose and celebrate throughout the summer. When you look at your exam timetable, it’s understandable to think that you’re faced with an impossible task, but stick with it because a bit of hard work and plenty of organisation will put you on track to exam success.
To make life that little bit easier for you, we’ve outlined some simple changes that will make you more productive during your revision sessions.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
It goes without saying, but attempting to cram a load of information in the night before a test never works (regardless of how many energy drinks you consume).
It’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to study in the lead-up to your exams, because this will allow you to absorb the information in sections rather than attempting to take it all in at once.
When you start working nice and early in the year, you put yourself in a good position to take in more information, which will ultimately help you to gain those all-important marks. One way to effectively take information in over time is to dedicate one hour each evening to revisit anything that you have learned that day.
While the information is fresh in your mind, you can solidify your understanding of it, which means that you aren’t trying to grasp difficult concepts close to your exams.
Once you know what exams you’re sitting, and when you’re going to be sitting them, it’s time to put a plan in place that allows you to make the most of your study sessions.
It’s a good idea to rank your exams by difficulty and how far away they are in terms of time. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a good understanding of the effort involved in revising these concepts, and you can structure your plan accordingly.
When you’re planning your time, it’s always best to draw up a timetable, because this will give you some proper revision structure and will ensure that you stick to it. If you don’t have a plan in place, you’ll find yourself feeling bogged down by the workload, when in reality it will be relatively manageable.
Keep It Visual
Over the next couple of months, you’ll have a lot of information to take in. You can’t expect to read lines and lines of text and expect your brain to process them properly. The best way to learn new things is through the use of visual cues. This means you’ve got plenty of scope to get creative with your revision.
Think about it: when you’re scrolling through your social media, do you pay more attention to the images or to the text on the screen? Well, studies show that you’re more likely to engage with visual data rather than written data, which means that it’s the perfect time to start putting together diagrams and cue-cards to help you get through your studies.
Practice What You Preach
One of the best ways to master a topic is to practise memorising its concepts until it’s all ingrained in your subconscious.
When you practise something over and over again, you’ll find that you can retrieve that information with minimal effort when it’s needed, so you’ll find yourself flying through your exams.
When you feel like you’ve mastered these concepts, the best way to put your knowledge to the test is to try and teach it to other people. We recommend doing this in two stages...
First, teach it to your fellow students, because they will already have an understanding of the information that you’re explaining, and can clarify anything that you might be unsure on.
Second, try to teach the topic to family and friends who don’t have that existing knowledge. If you can teach the topic to them properly and they can show a clear understanding, you can enter your exams with confidence, because you’ve already got to the stage where you can explain the information in a clear and structured way.
This might seem like a bit of an odd study tip, but hear us out. Yes, staying healthy is more of a lifestyle thing, but living a better lifestyle has its benefits when it comes to learning.
Exercise has the power to make you feel energised and more awake, which means you’ll be more focused throughout your studies. It also releases key proteins into the brain, which are essential to retaining new information.
Studies also show that drinking plenty of water while you’re studying (and during your actual exams) has a positive effect on learning. This is because of the physiological effects involved, because your body – including your brain – functions better when it’s properly hydrated. Some psychologists also believe that drinking water during exams helps to reduce anxiety and therefore improve performance.
Watch what you eat throughout the busy exam period as well, because certain foods have been found to boost brain-power. Think about eating superfoods like nuts, avocados, blueberries, and blackcurrants while you study, because these have all been linked to improved academic performance.
Try Using Technology
There is a lot to take in when you’re planning your exam revision, and some elements of it can be incredibly confusing if you’re not used to them.
Fortunately, you’re more than likely to have a smartphone close to hand, which is going to help you make the most of the exam period.
There are plenty of apps available that will help you to get through your studies. Whether you struggle with managing your time properly, or remembering what your tutor said in a lecture, there is an app to help you out. Here are some of our favourites:
- Soundnote: An app that allows you to record your lectures, which is perfect for when you can’t keep up with what your tutor is saying and you know that you’ll need to revisit it later.
- Class Timetable: This app helps you to manage your revision time, and schedules your study-sessions around your lectures.
- Sleep Cycle: It’s important that your brain is awake enough to study properly, so when it comes to the busy exam period, regulating your sleeping pattern will ensure that you’re on top form. This app monitors your sleep and wakes you up at optimal times.
Stick with It
The exam period can be tough, but you’ll get through it successfully with a bit of dedication and a lot of planning. And with plenty of student events on throughout the summer months, all of your hard work will be worth it.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
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About the Author
Daniel Sefton is a writer for dwell Student Living, providers of modern, purpose-built student accommodation in four major UK cities.