Everyone has experienced the frustration of time-crunch study sessions before exams. But with the right strategies and tricks, studying can be less daunting and more effective. To help with exams, here are some tried and tested study strategies that can improve retention and performance.
Set Realistic Study Goals
Begin by setting realistic study goals. Without clear objectives in mind, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. A goal could be as simple as mastering one topic within a set time or completing a certain number of pages each day. Make sure your goals are measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Create a Study Schedule
A study schedule can help to better manage time and ensure consistent progress. Allocate equal slots for each subject and topics based on their difficulty level and importance in the exam. Incorporate breaks to ensure that attention levels are maintained.
Do not just passively read notes or books. Actively engage with the materials through note taking, summarizing or re-reading pertinent sections. Practice-related problems are especially recommended for subjects such as Math or Physics.
Study in Chunks
Research suggests that our brains absorb information more effectively in short, repeated intervals – a strategy known as ‘spaced repetition’. Break your study sessions into manageable chunks with periodic breaks instead of long hours of non-stop studying.
Say no to Multitasking
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking actually decreases productivity. Focus on one task at a given time; this makes you less prone to errors and ensures better comprehension and memory.
Use Visual Aids
Visual aids like diagrams, flowcharts or mind maps can help cement concepts more firmly in your mind. Such aids enable better recall by associating visual images with information.
Rely on Mnemonics
Mnemonics are devices that aid memory – typically acronyms or rhymes. They enable the conversion of complex information into a format that is easier to remember.
Quizzing oneself periodically can help reinforce knowledge and identify areas of improvement. This also gets you accustomed to the pressure of a timed test environment, aiding better performance in real exams.
Step Away from Tech Distractions
While technology offers countless learning resources, it can be a source of distraction too. Allocate specific times to check emails or social media and use apps that block notifications during study hours.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Adequate nutrition, exercise and sleep are just as important when studying for exams. These factors influence energy levels, concentration, and memory power.
Tackle Tough Subjects First
Tougher subjects often require more mental energy. By tackling them first when you are fresh, you maximize your efficiency and retain information better.
Seek Help If Needed
If you find yourself struggling with a topic or subject, do not hesitate to seek help from teachers, peers, or online resources. There is no shame in needing some extra assistance!
Last but not least, practice positive affirmations or meditations to keep stress at bay. Exams can be nerve-wracking, but with the right approach towards stress management, they will be less scary!
The Bigger Picture
Tried and tested study strategies ensure that you retain information better and reduce the stress of last-minute cramming. By adopting these methods, you can enhance your study skills and overall performance, not just for exams but for lifelong learning.