With exams tunneling their way at 200 miles/hour towards many students, I thought it appropriate to share some of my study tips.
Since everyone knows the basics (start studying asap, don’t cram the night before, do past papers, make flashcards…blah blah blah blah…)I’ve decided to be original by compiling a list of ‘non-conventional’ methods to make exam season a little less hectic.
During the Study Period.
- Study in longer chunks. I have been told and told again: “study in short chunks and give yourself a study break after 15 minutes of study”. Now, this tip might work for people who have short attention-spans, but it really doesn’t work for me. By the time my mind gets warmed up to doing math exercises, the 15 minutes will have passed and it will be time for a break.By the time I start relaxing, it will be time to start working again. Not cool. By working in at least 1 hour sessions, followed by a 15 minute break, it feels like I am able to achieve much more, and I am less likely to get distracted.
- Talk to yourself. Find out your learning style. Are you an auditory learner? or maybe a visual, or kinesthetic learner? There are tons of tests online which can help you easily determine your strengths at learning.I personally am an auditory learner. For example, making flashcards doesn’t work well for me since there is no sound involved in the process. What does work is when I repeat facts out loud. I sometimes even record myself on my phone, and listen back to it on the bus, or the train.
- Have music playing in the background. Now some people may find music to very annoying when they are trying to concentrate. I however, always have my Bon Iver playlist on in the background when I study. The sound is mellow, and the lyrics are calm and soothing, and (most importantly) difficult to sing along with. I would avoid songs which you know the lyrics to, since you will be more likely to end up singing along, instead of concentrating on your studying.
- Study alone. Maybe it’s my introvert tendencies seeping through, but group study sessions really don’t work for me. One person gets distracted and ends up dragging everyone else into the abyss of distraction. Plus, (as mentioned above) I like to be able to talk to myself when I’m memorizing facts, and I can’t really do that when I’m surrounded by a group of people.
- Block Distractions. I use a Google chrome app called No procrastination to block sites such as Pinterest & Facebook, and sometimes Yahoo…yes yes, it does seem tempting to sort out your inbox when you should be studying instead. On my phone, I’ve gotten rid of all unnecessary apps (candycrush, anggrybirds..etc..) as well as Facebook and Instagram!
- Buy stationary– its a great motivator. I bought myself some new highlighters and stickynotes… its the little things that count!
- Make use of library resources. Enough said.
- Invest in a desk. If you dont have access to a desk inb your home, now would be a good time to invest in one. Or you could study in the library…
- Look at examiner’s reports. Not all exam boards will have these readily availiable online, but its possible to find them for IB with a little bit of internet searching. The reports are super helpful, since they show you what exam students in previous years have done well, or not so well. You can avoid the mistakes that others have made!
- YouTube is your friend! Rich Thornley is great for chem, and Jason Welker has aided my studying for numerous Econ exams, and there are so many useful documentaries for History!
- Don’t lose hope. When the going gets tough, (believe me, it will!) the worst thing you can do is give up. Instead of stressing out, take a moment, close your eyes, and count to 10.
- Dress up for exams. It may seem appealing to wear sweatpants, or a onesie… (or even -god forbid- your pjs) to the exam. However, I know, from personal experience, that when I dress up and take 15 minutes to apply makeup in the morning, I feel radiant, confident, sexy and ready to tackle the challenges ahead. Nobody wants to feel like a lethargic sloth in the exam room, right?
- Go to bed at 20:00 on the night before.Force yourself to do it. You will thank yourself the next day.
- Chew gum during the exam. It makes me feel less stressed…
(*Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape or form suggesting that these tips will work for everyone. They are merely suggestions that I am currently using, or have previously worked well for me)