Sometimes studying can seem impossible. It might be a subject you find boring, a topic you have never quite got your head around or you might be unable to stop yourself procrastinating. Whatever the reason behind your trouble, we have some tips that will help you improve your studying habits and get you that A* in no time.
How to study more effectively for exams
When it comes to studying, no matter what the subject, you need to learn how to study effectively. By improving your studying skills, you will instantly boost your chances of success. We have all the best ways to do it!
Find a technique that works
Not every study technique will be suited to you. Our brains all work in different ways, therefore we learn differently to others. There are four primary types of learners according to the popular VARK model. You need to understand which way you learn information best and then go from there.
The first type of learner is the visual learner. You learn best by seeing. Graphic displays such as charts, diagrams and videos are all helpful learning tools, as is the addition of color. You learn information better seeing it presented in a visual rather than a written form.
Another type is the auditory learner. This type of learner prefers to hear information rather than reading it or seeing it displayed visually. The best technique for this type of learner involves repetition so by reciting the information out loud until you can remember it by heart.
The third type is read-write learners. As the name suggests, they learn best when reading and writing down the key information. The learners will learn by silently reading or rewriting their notes repeatedly and organizing any diagrams or charts into written statements.
The final type is kinesthetic. You learn best by touching or doing, so in other words by being hands-on and putting the information you have read into practice. You should try getting up and demonstrating certain points when you can.
Once you understand what kind of learner you are, you can adapt your revision to the exercises that suit you best, thus improving how successful your learning is.
Identify what you need to know
When you’re revising, one of the most important steps is to identify exactly what you need to know. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to know the entire textbook and every single fact that ever existed. Look at the individual topics and pick the most important topics that are central to the subject and make sure you understand those really well.
Study to understand
An examiner isn’t expecting you to know everything, but they are expecting you to understand the main concepts. If you study just to remember blocks of text without actually fully understanding the topic then you will not be able to answer exam questions as effectively.
The exam questions are designed to make you think and question the ideas you have learned. If you have merely memorized large chunks of text, you will not be able to formulate an answer which will suit the examiner’s mark scheme.
Practice on past papers
One of the best ways to study is by testing your knowledge on past papers. You might know the information to answer the question, but may find yourself struggling with what the best way to answer it is. By doing past papers, you get used to the wording of the question and what the examiners are looking for. Plus it gives you an idea of how much time you should be spending on each section of the paper. So when it comes to the real exam you will be unfazed because you have already taken the time to practice at home!
Organize your study space
Ever heard the phrase tidy office equals tidy mind? Maybe not, but it’s true. When you are studying you need to make sure you have enough space to properly allow yourself to work. Can you spread your textbooks and notes out? Is your chair comfortable? Is your phone not on the desk to tempt you when you get bored?
It’s important to get rid of all distractions so you can stay as focused as possible. Some people like to work in complete silence, others might find some quiet background music helps. Think about what you want and take the time to get it right.
Make a timetable
Students who achieve good grades usually have one trait in common: determination. They take their study into their own hands and do not rely on anyone else to push or motivate them to take the time to study.
If you want to achieve good grades, but often find yourself getting distracted whenever you go to study, then you need to make a timetable. A timetable means you know exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. It is a tool to keep you focused and motivated, as well as stopping your workload from seeming overwhelming. You can have clear study times and allocated breaks, which helps to break it up.
The more detailed your timetable, the more successful your revision will be. If you plan out exactly what you need to cover in each slot for the weeks and months ahead, you know everything will be covered before your exam. This stops you feeling overwhelmed or stressed with all the different subjects you will be taking exams for.
Take regular breaks
While studying for as many hours as possible might seem like a good idea, it can actually be counter productive. Sitting for hours on end in exactly the same spot, doing nothing else but studying, will not be helpful to you. It is important your mind has time to actively rest and can stop trying to digest all the information.
You might study better in the morning than the afternoon; if this is the case, try and get done the majority of your revision in the morning and set aside a larger break after lunch time.
When you are taking a break, you might be tempted to just sit inside on your phone, catching up on what you have missed on social media, but sometimes you need to properly give your brain a break from technology. Go outside, take a walk, breathe in fresh air; Vitamin D is important for a healthy brain.
Remember being hydrated is crucial for your brain to work at its best. You need to make sure you stay hydrated when you are revising and on the day of the exam!
Prioritize your workload
Often you will have upcoming exams and homework to tackle at the same time so the key is to prioritize your work. Try and avoid falling into the trap of picking the easiest subject to revise first because you don’t want to face the trickier concepts.
Those who succeed at their studying are not afraid of the topics they don’t understand. They thrive on the challenge of wanting to learn and understand. If you pick the topics you find most challenging first, this can act as a good incentive to power through, knowing that afterward, you will be learning a topic you either enjoy more or find easier.
How to maximize your learning at school
When it comes to your time after school, it can be quite tempting to kick back and relax as soon as you get through the door. If you get into the habit of doing any homework straight away, instead of leaving it till later that evening, you are likely to be far more productive and switched on. Make sure you try and do your homework as soon as it gets set so you avoid falling behind.
If you come home from school and find there was a topic you didn’t quite understand, don’t just forget about it. Take the time to go through your notes and try and understand. Read, read and read until you get it. In the long term, this will really benefit you and make your life much easier when it comes to studying for exams later on in the year.
Keep pushing yourself
If there are days when you do not have any homework, then make sure you keep your mind active. Read over any upcoming material for future lessons to get you ahead of the game. There’s no reason why your learning should stop as soon as you leave the classroom. For those who do well, they keep working well after they step through the front door.
Never give up
Most importantly, never give up! Believe in yourself because you can do it. There is no reason why you cannot achieve the grades or the success you want if you put in hard work and lots of effort. In the end, the only person holding yourself back is you!