It’s that time of the year once again. Examination time.
To some pupils; it is the best time of their academic cycle, to others- the worst! As our pupils sit for their examinations, I thought it might be helpful to throw in some study tips…
There is no magic bullet when it comes to developing good study habits. Not everyone learns the same way. So, not everyone will study the same way. Some people need absolute silence to review textbooks, lecture notes, and handouts to prepare for an exam. Others study better in a group bouncing ideas off one another. The study skills you develop will be based heavily on your learning style.
Recognise that in order to succeed you need to make decisions about your priorities, your time, and your resources.
Studying effectively is not a matter of chance. Educators and psychologists have researched study methods for years. Students who follow these methods learn more easily, retain material for longer periods of time, and save themselves hours of study time. The ten study methods researchers have found that work are:
1.Make and Keep a Study Schedule
Set aside certain hours of each day for study just as you do for nourishment and sleep. Keep the same schedule faithfully from day-to-day. The amount of time needed for study will vary for each individual based on skills with the subject matter. An average of two hours of study each day for each hour in class is recommended. Going to class is only the beginning; the real work begins afterwards!
2.Studying in an Appropriate Setting — Same Time, Same Place, Every Day
If concentration is your problem, then the right surroundings will help you greatly. Your study desk or table should be in a quiet place – free from as many distractions as possible. You will concentrate better when you study in the same place every day. It’s a mind-set. For example, when you sit down at the kitchen table, you expect to eat. When you sit down in an easy chair, you watch TV, etc. Developing the habit of studying in the same place at the same time every day will improve your concentration.
It is not the amount of time you spend studying that matters. It’s what you can accomplish during that time. Spending 40 hours to prepare for an exam and only earning aC clearly was a waste of your time. Develop a study plan and learn how to manage your time effectively to maximise your results.
4. Equipping Your Study Area With All The Materials You Need
Your study desk or table should be equipped with all the materials you might need to complete the assignment.
Gather your pencils, pens, books, dictionary, snacks, and liquid refreshments before you sit own to study. With your materials at hand, you can study without interruption. Put your cell phone as far away from you as possible. Taking your snack food and drinks to the study location will eliminate those endless trips to the kitchen which break your concentration.
5. Relying on Inspiration for Motivation
Can you imagine an athlete-in-training waiting for inspiration to strike to practice in preparation for an event? Of course not. They train daily to stay competitive whether they want to or not. Like the athlete, you must get in training for tests and examinations by doing the assignments and preparing daily through review to be ready for the action. Do not wait until the eve of your exam to start studying.
6. Keeping a Well-Kept Notebook Improves Grades
Researchers tell us that there is definitely a relationship between orderliness and high grades. Knowing where to find your materials when you need them is crucial. It is never too late to start. Keep a special section for each subject in your notebook as well as a semester calendar so that you can write down all important assignments as they are announced. Having all of this information together in one place is vital to your success. A well-kept notebook is a part of good time management. If you’ve ever misplaced an important assignment, you know how much valuable time can be lost looking for it. Keeping a Careful Record of ‘things to do’.
Put it down in black and white—including the details— and keep it in your notebook. Knowing just what you are expected to do and when you are expected to do it is the first giant step toward completing important assignments successfully and on time. This works tremendously even where studying is concerned.
7. Making Use of “Trade Secrets”
Flash cards aren’t just for children! They are a legitimate study tool. Use the front of the card to write an important term, and on the back, write a definition or an important fact about that term. Carry your flash cards with you. Use them during “dead time,” such as standing in a long queue, waiting in a doctor or dentist’s office, or riding a bus. Post them on your bathroom mirror to review while brushing your teeth. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish during those otherwise “dead times.” Think about developing your own “trade secrets” that will improve your study skills.
8. Taking Good Notes as Insurance Against Forgetting
Learn to take good notes efficiently as your teacher’s stress important points in class and as you study your assignments. Good notes are a “must” for just-beforeexam-reviewing. Without notes, you will need to reread and review the entire assignment before a test. This may require you to read anywhere from 100-300 pages of material in one sitting. With notes, you can recall the main points in just a fraction of the time. The time you spend in note taking is not lost, but in fact, is a time-saver.
9. Overlearning Material Enhances Memory
Psychologists tell us that the secret to learning for future reference is overlearning. Experts suggest that after you can say, “I know this material,” that you should continue to study that material for an additional one-fourth of the original study time. The alphabet is an example of overlearning. How did you learn it? Probably through recitation which is the best way to etch material into the memory trace. Manipulate the material as many different ways as possible by writing, reading, touching, hearing, and saying it. In an experimental study, students who overlearned material retained four times as much after a month than pupils who didn’t overlearn.
10. Reviewing Material Frequently
A student who does not review material can forget 80 per cent of what has been learned in only two weeks! The first review should come very shortly after the material was first presented and studied. Reviewing early acts as a safeguard against forgetting and helps you remember far longer. Frequent reviews throughout the course will bring rewards at test time and will alleviate pre-test anxiety.
Although these ten study methods do work, there is one other component needed when using all of them – taking responsibility. All the study methods in the world won’t help you if you don’t help yourself. As with most everything in your life, your motto should be, “I’m responsible for my success!”
Studying does not have to be a difficult process. The biggest mistake pupils make is developing a study plan that is different from the way they learn best. Not only are they trying to learn new information, but they are trying to adapt to a new way to learn that information too!
Make it easy on yourself. Ask yourself a simple question: Are you a visual (see), auditory (hear), or kinaesthetic (hands-on) learner?
It does not matter whether you are writing an English Literature paper, reviewing algebra problems, or finishing up a chemistry lab report. There is one key element every successful pupil needs to include in a study plan.
#Motivation – If you are not motivated and have a poor attitude, your study session will not be very productive. You have just one opportunity to pass that Geometry exam or ace the term paper. Pick a time of day where you can get motivated to prepare for tests, write essays, and solve problems.
The best way to motivate yourself is to stop stressing about what’ll happen when things go wrong and start thinking about how awesome life will be when