Between now and whatever exam you are studying for, there is going to be absolutely no shortage of advice, tips and tricks coming your way.
It can be more than a little overwhelming and it can be so easy to turn into a little ball of stress before you ever even pick up a book.
Here are some super helpful ways to make it all a little easier.
The number one thing you should do before studying is to find a quiet, bright and comfortable space to base themselves. Sometimes, people can be lucky enough to have something like this in their bedroom or home, but if not, there are so many others that will do just fine.
A library, for example, is of course, a textbook example of a good study area. In addition to the obvious perks of quietness and space, there are other benefits like walking there which might give you the chance to get so much needed space, air and exercise.
Another benefit is the possibility of no distractions (you would be so surprised how much more you will get done when you can’t go and check if the fridge was restocked yet every 15 minutes or remember that you just HAVE to reorganise your sock drawer this minute).
Wherever you find yourself doing your work, try to keep it for just that purpose if possible, to encourage you to leave it when you need to, such as to eat or drink. Cluttering your space and staying at it for ridiculous periods of time can be more damaging than beneficial.
Some people’s favourite part of studying is gathering all the bits and pieces, going for a bit of a stationery shop for ‘essentials’ like 10 gel pens and rubber colourful notes, and sometimes we like to make a day out of it and take a wander into the shops for this purpose (ie. Procrastinating).
But really, what is the harm in having all the gadgets? If these things brighten up your study space and make it seem less daunting, then go for it.
While of course, a pen, some paper, a book and your brain may be just as sufficient, some of us respond better to visual stimulation – and the study process is all about doing what works best for you!
Save Your Money – Study Smarter!
It can be very easy to feel like you need to buy every revision book and study notes or go to every revision course and exam preparation lesson out there, but it’s important to remember this – you are not being tricked in an exam.
Everything that you have learned in preparation is enough and it is certain that nothing surprising or unplanned for is going to pop up.
Of course, there are going to be parts that you are less comfortable with or something you may find challenging so maybe invest in books and materials for the subjects you really struggle with, but not all twelve!
Learning Styles – Each To Their Own!
The number one thing to remember is that studying is SO different for everyone – this cannot be stressed enough!
There are so many ways to study (contrary to the belief of many) and sitting in silence with a book in front of you definitely does not work for everyone.
But one thing is universal – stress and a busy and confusing space are never good spaces for anyone to learn in.
One super-easy way to kick start your studying is to take a little bit of time to find out how you should study.
This may sound like unnecessary hard work before you start to work, but honestly, this step may really help you majorly in the long run.
There are different types of learning styles, such as visual learners (all you neon sticky note and flashcard people), kinaesthetic learners (all those of you who prefer to get stuck in and learn by doing) and auditory learners (listeners/speaking/explaining), and different combinations of these three.
There are some quick online quizzes you can take to find out which one of these fits you best and then apply some strategies of how they learn to your study.
Just remember that studying is not an easily defined as people think – it is the process which people learn information and it changes so much for each person.
Check out our piece Finding A Study Method That Works For You
The Best Bit – Study Breaks!
Yay – everyone’s favourite part of studying!
Depending on your learning type and attention span will determine how often you need to break up your study sessions.
A really great trick for everyone to try out is the Golden Hour method, where you schedule in one hour of study and break this into 20-minute chunks broken up by 5-minute breaks. While this may seem like a lot of faffing about, the reality is that when you leave your study space, you will have done a solid hour of study where information actually fell into your brain (with the bonus of little breaks!).
A timer is essential for this method (maybe not your phone – we all know that is the study enemy) to make sure that you stick to your timings.
You concentrate completely on whatever you are studying and however you are doing it, and once your concentration is starting to fade and you begin to feel tired (which usually happens after about 20 minutes anyway), the timer will go, and you will be free to wander until it beeps again.
The perfect breaks are those that let you get away from your study space, ideally get some air and a little bit of exercise to wake your body up, and maybe a little bit of a snack to help things motoring (nuts, fruit or a bit of chocolate are super study fuel).
An hour of study sounds so much easier when you can break it down!
Be Kind To Yourself!
The number one thing to remember when you are studying for something is to be kind to yourself in every way.
Everyone couldn’t be lying when they tell you things like get enough sleep/drink more water/take some exercise, because they are all true!
You need to take care of your body and mind if you want it to do super things for you (ie. Fly your exam).
Sleep, water, exercise, fresh air and laughing are the true study essentials – if your body is run down and if your mind is under immense, self-induced pressure and stress, your studying will not be as effective.
Bottom line – be nice to that person that you want to be nice to you! Because they will for sure remember all the late-night Netflix binges when you want it to be rattling off an essay.
Words: Kaia Purcell