By Chloe Gee
Exam season is just around the corner, if not, already in full swing; and for those of you who are struggling to get started on the necessary preparations, fret not! Here are 5 simple study tips to help ease you onto the right track.
PLAN AND MANAGE
The first step to any study process is to outline a clear study plan which details what you need to get done, when you need to get it done, and how you plan on getting it done. It’s impossible to go through everything you’ve learned during the semester right before finals (I know most of us have tried this) so this method will help to narrow your focus onto the subject matters that are more important. The next step is to strategize the most efficient use of resources (lecture slides, textbook references etc.) at your disposal and also to allocate sufficient time for your study plan to be executed. Blind effort alone without any concrete planning doesn’t always get you where you need to go.
Studying is very much like a sport and it takes a huge amount of effort and commitment to keep at it. While most of us may start out extremely motivated, we tend to lose steam towards the second half of our study process.
“I just can’t do this anymore you know? I don’t have enough motivation to keep going”.
Sound familiar? The truth is, motivation never lasts and it all comes down to discipline. You need to have a clear goal in mind and push yourself every day to work towards it. In this case, we must make a conscious effort to stick to our study schedule and ignore the little voice in our heads urging us to go out with friends or to binge watch YouTube videos. After all, success is determined by what you are willing to sacrifice for it.
Study spaces are an extremely crucial part of any study process and it is important for us to figure out what environment suits us best. For example, some people might find themselves being more productive in cafes while some may prefer studying at home. Either way, it is important to create a comfortable and distraction-free environment to maximize the efficiency of information absorption. Put away anything that might divert your attention from your books (your phone *coughs*). In doing so, we will most likely be able to shorten our total study time as we can focus better. A bonus tip is to switch up your study environment from time to time to boost productivity and cognitive levels as this method has been proven to be successful in an experiment conducted in 1978. If you’d like to know more on this, you can read more here.
After studying for long periods of time, it is important for us to pull back and recharge. Research has shown that most people can only really focus for up to 45 minutes at a time. (Link to article below) Hence, a study pattern which factors in time for regular breaks can actually be more effective than studying for longer blocks of time. These breaks should last no longer than 20 minutes at a time and should be used to its full advantage. Get up, take a walk, take a power nap, just do anything that will help you release any form of stress and frustration.
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Ahh yes, the most clichéd study tip (that we choose to ignore) of all time. Exam season is a very challenging time for us both mentally and physically and during this period; it is of utmost importance that we take care of our health to ensure that our bodies are functioning at full capacity. The three primary things to watch out for is sleep, water intake and food intake. As finals loom closer, the probability of us burning the midnight oil increases drastically. However, this is probably not the best idea as our brains tend to function better in the morning. Instead of staying up all night, try sleeping early for a change and putting in your hours of study in the morning. This approach will have a more positive effect on our bodies and also our grades. In addition to that, don’t forget to hydrate and avoid skipping meals no matter how stressed you are. The last thing you want is to get sick before an exam (Yes, I know. Your mom has already told you this).
Regardless of the approach you have towards studying, the most important thing of all is to take action and just get started. As Pablo Picasso once said: “Action is the foundational key to all success”. All the best for your exams and remember not to stress too much!