Everyone is capable of studying hard, but does that mean you’re studying smartly?
Whether it’s for GCSE’s, AS levels, or A levels, these tips will prepare you for your upcoming exams.
Understand what type of learner you are
Do you remember things better using visuals, audio, by reading/writing, or by being active and ‘doing’ (aka kinaesthetic learning)? Mix it up by introducing all four learning styles. Once you understand what works best for you, it will make remembering and recalling new information much easier.
Don’t put off getting started. If you procrastinate, you cause more stress for yourself on the day of the exam when you don’t feel prepared enough.
If you always find yourself on Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube, it may be helpful to download StayFocusd, which will restrict the amount of time allowed on these websites, and then will block them for the rest of the day.
Start studying early, as you will stand a better chance of getting everything covered, especially topics that you struggle with. But get started NOW – even if it’s simply creating a schedule to help you prepare.
Keep on schedule
Your teachers have probably been reminding you to create a schedule, but they’re right to do so. Staying organised is certainly the best policy to effective studying. It will only take about 15 minutes to set up a schedule, and then you’re prepared for the rest of the exam period.
I’ve learned that to succeed, you should practise using routine instead of motivation. The greatest bodybuilders didn’t get to the top because they were motivated every single day. If they were having an off day, they still hit the gym out of habit. Create a habit of your revision and you’ll create a lot more time to relax.
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The people with the best results are those who have found the right balance between study and relaxation. If you set yourself a reward for a productive day of revision – such as going to the cinema or watching the football – you will be more driven to study harder. Getting some headspace is important.
Likewise, taking some time out of your revision schedule to exercise is an excellent option. It will get more oxygen to your brain, and reduce stress and tiredness.
Flashcards can take a few hours to make, but the payoff is well worth it. They can fit in your pocket meaning that you can study on the go, and read them while you’re on public transport, or waiting in long queues. You can even find flashcard apps for your phone, including Chegg Flashcards and Anki.
Get somebody to quiz you
Ask your parents, siblings, or friends to put some time aside to quiz you using your flashcards. Making the information interactive will make it more memorable, and other people may give you tips and tricks to retain what you’re struggling to remember. Try to choose a reliable friend or family member who won’t mess around and distract you!
Create your own mock exams
I found it really helpful to create my own mock exam situation when I was nearing the exam. I set a timer, and went through a past paper in the same length of time as the exam. You can then look through the paper when you’re finished, and work harder on the questions you struggled to answer. It takes some discipline, but the more you practise being in an exam situation, the less stress you’ll have on the day!
Mix it up
We warned you about Youtube earlier, but when used smartly, it’s a great resource for visual information on what you need to learn. There are also podcasts, documentaries, or if you’re studying for English, movie interpretations of plays and books.
When you’re studying, change is always important, even if it’s small things like moving to a new study area or studying with different people. It can help you recall where you were or who you were with when you revised a topic, which can trigger your memory on the day of the exam.
Getting good exam results is not a matter of luck – preparing well will put you in a good place for whatever challenges await you. So good luck in your upcoming exams, and get studying!