I’ll start by saying: I hate studying. As do most people. I’ve never done well with attempting to cram facts into my mind and then trying to remember them on the day of the exam. I’m sure we were all told the different ways to study for an exam, but for me, none of them really worked. I wasn’t motivated, I procrastinated, I avoided studying because I thought I had plenty of time. Then the days were edging to the exam and there I was, frantically going through text books and old class notes, desperately trying to remember things that I would forget by the time I sat down to take the test.
I realized that prep methods such as creating mind maps, colour coding notes or reading endless paragraphs in text books did not personally help me to learn anything. So finally, I decided to get organised and find a method of studying that actually works for me, and could be useful for you as well:
1. Finding a quiet location
Pick a place that you know there will be no interruptions. I also like to make sure there is no clutter around my chosen area of study.
2. Typing up important notes
In the past, I was spending far too long on writing neat and tidy notes as opposed to actually using them to study! However when preparing for my previous exam, I decided to type out important notes that I knew for a fact I needed to learn, then printed them out. This worked out really well, so I’ll definitely be doing this again for any future exams.
3. Sticking notes up
I don’t do this for every exam, but sometimes I will stick all my notes up on my wall so they remain in order.
4. Walking around
I discovered that I can’t sit still in one place to study simply because I get too bored and distracted. Instead, I walk around the room while studying and find it a lot easier to concentrate than sitting at a desk.
5. Reading aloud
I find that I understand information a lot better when I read my notes out loud versus reading them in my head. Once I have my notes organised, I walk around my area of study and read one note aloud repeatedly until I understand it, before moving on to the next. I know it can be tedious to keep repeating the same thing, but I find that I better remember the information this way.
6. Mini test
When I feel I am confident, I test myself or get someone else to quiz me. Then, which ever aspect I don’t do well on I will go back and focus on it.
7. Taking a break
Take a break, but don’t be so generous! In the past I’ve decided to take a “short break”, which turns into me not even bothering to go back and study. Take a few minutes to sit down or have a quick snack. I don’t recommend going to watch tv or videos as you might find you don’t feel like studying afterwards.
After taking a quick break, I go back and repeat everything I just did to see if I still remember what I studied.
Exams are a stressful time, I fully understand that, so I hope this guide can help even just the tiniest bit. Whenever I know exams are coming up, I motivate myself by knowing if I work super hard now, I can enjoy my summer break as a reward. Best of luck!