The exam seasons have dawned upon us especially for those who are currently in college and university. This season is significantly daunting, filled with procrastination and a neverending list of things that need to be learned and memorised by a certain date. For many of us, it is also filled with recreational crying, stress pimples and copious amounts of coffee. These tips are to help point you in the right direction and hopefully reduce the coffee consumption and increase the efficiency of your studying.
One of the absolute first things you should do before starting your exam preparation is to identify your preferred study/learning style. Every individual holds a different preference in terms of their learning style; do you like teaching others what you've learnt? do you like writing things down? do you like drawing concepts out? or do you like using concepts in realistic situations? Your answers to these questions help determine if your dominant learning style is visual, aural, logical, or physical. This will help you work efficiently as you it narrows down the ways you could study and will also help avoid the copious chances of using a study technique that does not work as optimally. You may identify your learning style here.
Lists are a great tool to help you schedule and visual the amount of things that need to be covered in your exam preparation. Not only that, checking off the boxes or crossing out things that need to be done make you feel productive, happy and confident which in turn motivates you to keep going. I personally have a list for each unit I have an exam for, in each list I write down what concepts I need to learn/revise and how much time I need to spend on it. Referring to the lists I've created, I plan out which topics I am going to revise in my journal so that I have a time frame to revise each topic in detail before my exams and I also make sure to leave at least a week or a few days before my paper to revise everything once more. I find doing this keeps me on my toes, on top of my revision and using the last few days prior to my exam to do a brush over my topics helps me retain the information and pick up on things that I may have forgotten or overlooked before.
The Pomodoro technique is a time management tip which helps you stay productive without burning out. It works with time as opposed to running against the tick tock of the clock, this is done by working in 4 sets of 25 minute bursts and taking a 5 minute minute between each set to refresh and relax. During the 25 minutes of work, you have to commit 100% to whatever it is you're doing and save the social media scrolling for the break between the sets which is something that I struggled doing when I first started using this technique. After 4 sets of 25 minutes, you take a longer break that can range from 15 to 30 minutes and then proceed to do another 4 sets of 25 minutes. I found that using this technique helped me stop procrastinating and getting distracted which in turn allowed me to produce better quality work and have a productive day! Try it out and see!
Before you begin your study, you should write down what you aim to get done for that study session such as writing your notes for 3 topics, successfully learning a concept, or concising your notes and once you achieve that goal - reward yourself! It is important to reward yourself with a break, an episode of your favourite TV show or a certain amount of Youtube videos (perhaps mine?). This helps you feel accomplished, satisfied and relaxes your mind before you start your next session. After studying for 3 hours using the Pomodoro technique, I tend to reward myself with some chocolate and an episode of my favourite TV show - at the moment that can be anywhere between The 100, Game of Thrones, or Modern Family.
It's game time! T minus 12 hours till your exam and you're feeling nervous! Use this time to go over your notes especially the areas you struggle with. Remember that this isn't a life or death situation and instead use it as a learning experience so that you constantly get better and understand the way your mind works in terms of studying, for future reference. Believe in yourself and the efforts you have put in to achieve the grade you aimed for and if it doesn't go the way you planned it, learn from it and remember that there's no point crying over spilt milk.
Did you find any of these tips helpful? Share some of your own tips in the comments below!