Sunday Observer - - FEATURES -

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

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