The run-up to an exam can be very stressful, especially if you haven’t planned out your study time properly. So, to ease your fears, we’ve put together a few tips that will help you to both study and prepare for your upcoming exams.
- Take notes
Be sure to jot down any important information from your tutor, including anything you don’t understand (you can research this later). It’s also essential to look over and rewrite any notes, ideally within 24 hours, to retain the information. Make sure your notes are factual and clear, as you’ll need these to revise from.
- Make a study plan
You’ll need to do at least 2 hours of studying per subject a week to make sure you’re keeping up with all the different topics. Put together a timetable sectioning out which subject/topic you’re going to tackle each day to ensure you’re spreading your time equally across your exam areas.
- Study in a quiet and comfortable area
It’s important to make sure the area you study in is somewhere quiet, comfortable and well- equipped (i.e. a desk, computer, access to books and pens) as you’re more likely to be able to focus and take in the information.
- Take short and frequent breaks
Your body needs to rest so remember to take short and frequent breaks to check your phone, go for a walk or go to the toilet. Ideally, this should be every 30 minutes as you tend to only take in the first and last 15 minutes of any information you look at.
- Reward yourself with a treat
Make sure you have a treat after a long week or once you’ve finished studying a particularly hard subject. This can range from a chocolate bar, your favourite meal, a night off or a night out with friends. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that will make you motivated to finish your studies.
- Drink lots of water
Water keeps your brain hydrated and active which allows you to concentrate. Keep a glass or bottle of water next to you and if you find yourself getting headaches or struggling to take something in, have a couple of sips and then go back to it.
- Study at the right time
Study at a time that suits you. This might be first thing in the morning or in the late evenings, but whichever it is, make sure it doesn’t interfere with your sleep. Try not to study late into the night when you should be sleeping, as you’ll find it harder to concentrate and you’ll take less information in.
- Make study aids
Flash cards are perfect for studying as they allow you to jot down trigger words or brief bits of information to help you answer specific questions, they work by allowing your memory to make connections between ideas and help you to retain information. They will also help you figure out any weaknesses in your learning and what you need to concentrate on the most. Flash cards can also be carried around making them the perfect ‘on the go’ study tool.
- Test yourself
Testing yourself is proven to make you 50% more likely to retain information and will also help you to figure out what information you still need to learn. Be sure to test yourself on bits of information each week to isolate what you firmly know from what you need to schedule in some time to go over.
- Ask for help
If you’re struggling with a certain subject or topic, then book in some time with your tutor to go over these areas; they’ll be happy to help you and you can feel confident knowing you’ve got the right information to revise from later.
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