It doesn’t matter how often you do it, studying never seems to get any easier or less stressful. Whether you’re studying for your PSATS or a College entrance exam, there are ways to help improve your study skills and get the most out of these revision sessions, therefore, hopefully leaving you with grades you’re happy with. Study smarter, rather than longer!
Give yourself time
Although all-night study sessions seem to be a part of being a student, they are in fact proven to lead to the lowest test results, so this is not the best way to prepare for an exam. Make a timetable of what you want to cover and when, and on the night before the exam, make sure you get a good night’s sleep – it will benefit you a lot more in the long run.
Work in shorter chunks
You may want to spend hours upon hours studying, with no breaks, but research shows that a better way of organizing study sessions is to spread them out into shorter chunks to aid with concentration. For example, rather than a full-on 10-hour session, organize 20 sessions of 30 minutes each. This is the best way for your brain to take onboard and retain new information and for you to stay focused. If you make this routine a habit, your brain will get more used to it, and it will begin to get easier for you.
Re-reading your notes, or highlighting text from a textbook may seem like the obvious way to study, but it is not the most effective. To ensure understanding of key themes, create flashcards. These separate the knowledge into more manageable chunks and the act of making them alone will help cement the concepts in your brain. You can use them almost like a game and recall the individual cards during the exam.
As with most things, it is easier to focus when you have a set goal to achieve, and studying is no different. Decide at the beginning of each study session, what it is you would like to achieve, for example, you might want to be able to recall all stages of the water cycle. This will ensure you stay on track and also help you see how far you’ve come, keeping you motivated.
Find your method
We are all different types of learners who pick up and remember information in different ways. Try various methods to see what works for you, for example, using mnemonics, teaching someone else to show you understand or making a diagram. As long as the result is the same, you can get there in the way that is best for you.
Get your hands on some practice tests to put yourself in the environment and practice answering questions in context. Not only will this test your knowledge and showcase gaps, but it will also make you feel more at ease and prepared when you go into your real exam.
Set up your space
Don’t study in your bed, use a designated space with a desk or table. Make sure it is well-lit with everything you could need (highlighters, note paper, calculators, etc.) close by. Keep it tidy and distraction free (turn your phone off!), and make sure you have water and a snack too. This will get your mind in the right place.
Don’t put it off – let this list of tips help motivate you to get started. Today!