We all face the same challenges when it comes to prepping for exams. We do our best. We study… and some of us actually study. However, we do not always reap the rewards of the tedious hours that we put in. Are those premature grey hairs then for naught?! Sadly, what most of us are in fact failing to do is to study correctly. Here are 5 incredibly helpful study tips that will change the way you prepare and greatly improve your marks.
These methods have been adapted from research done by Professor Gary North and have been proven to bring serious results.
Find a place where you can Study Alone
So many of us think we can work in any environment and actually “take in” information. But alas, it is not so. Your brain simply cannot and will not retain quality material when you are surrounded by distractions. Whether or not you feel you can concentrate and not worry about those around you is, unfortunately, irrelevant. You may well remember 70% of the study material you have worked on, but what good is 70% when you could be grasping the full 100%? When we are alone we can focus all of our attention on what we have to learn. Throw other people into the mix and our eyes and ears are distracted. Make the effort to find a place to study that provides you with silence and solitude.
Do Something Silly before you start to Study
Before you sit your butt down to focus do something totally ridiculous to shut your brain off for a few minutes. Try to juggle, do some skipping, stick your tongue out and see if you can whistle at the same time, but ensure that what you do takes a few moments of your time and wipes out any serious thoughts that may be running around in your head. This enables you to start completely fresh when you have to set your mind to work. Spend 5 minutes being silly and the next hour will fly by as you hit the books.
Summarize and Explain to Yourself what you have just read
This is one of those techniques that a great deal of students dismiss as they feel embarrassed even at the mere thought of re-teaching what they have learnt to themselves or to others. However, it has been proven over and over and over again to be one of the best ways to get that information stuck in your brain. After every chapter, repeat out aloud the most vital facts that you need to know and re-teach them to yourself. Talk to the wall, your own reflection or sit your baby brother down and tell him about that good old mathematical concept Hyperbola and how it works. When we “play teacher” we memorize our studies in the best way possible.
Accept that you are not great in all areas
When we accept what we need to improve upon, we can start to truly improve. We should never fall into the trap of thinking we are great at everything we do. In each subject there are areas where we struggle and do not obtain the same marks we do in other sections. We may fly when it comes to English literature essays, but tear our hair out when in the midst of those language questions. It’s life. We simply need to accept that we have to work harder at our language skills and remembering the rules we have to apply when learning. Once we identify our strengths and weaknesses, we can work at what we need to and feel more relaxed about our studies.
Re-read your work and Re-teach yourself. Again.
Ok, so you have made the effort to find a quiet space to work; you did jumping jacks before you began and you have taught your mother everything you know about the reproductive cycle of the North African tree frog. Now what? We do it again. Crazy as this may seem, after such extreme measures have already been taken to prepare; we now have to take a 5-10 minute breather and then re-read what we have learnt, go through our notes and grab hold of mommy again. This last step enables us to cement what we have learnt one last time. Do this and when it comes to the night before your exam and you want to quickly skim through your notes, it will be that much easier.
In order to maintain these study methods and achieve the results you want, you will have to commit yourself and practice, practice, practice. It takes time perfecting new techniques and this is no different. Start studying your work following these 5 points and when it comes to end year exam prep, it will truly be a walk in the park.