As I’m a student myself, I understand how difficult it can be to concentrate for a long period of time. Especially if you’ve spent all day in school already. But most teachers don’t seem to notice nor care about how much studying and homework their students have to do. It may be hard to balance school, social life and sleep.
I bet you’ve seen this triangle before. And you also need some time for yourself. So you see, it’s quite difficult at times, that’s why I’m making this post. I hope I can help some of you! I have tried these methods before so here we go;
- Time Management
Don’t ONLY study the night before. I’m not saying you have to know everything 2 days before the actual exam, I’m saying plan things out so you’re not stressed because you have to study everything within one night. Start extra early. I know this is hard for a lot of people but what really helps is keeping a planner. I have one. It’s the one into which I write when I have to do homework, when I have exams and when I study for this and that test. Sometimes I start studying 3 weeks early and in the end, I’m always glad I did. So as I said, the trick is to ACTUALLY WRITE IT DOWN. It’s also good to have your week planned out so when you start on monday, you won’t feel stressed because you’ve got everything planned out and written down.
- Find YOUR Right Time
You have to figure out wether you study more efficiently in the morning, around noon or in the evening. Knowing this will help you. I’d rather get up early and study than stay up until 2am studying. This is why I know, after 9pm I won’t study / learn and take things up properly, so that’s when I stop. My friend, however, prefers studying into the night. So if you know when the best time is for you to study, your time management (point above) will be even better because you know e.g. I can’t study at 9am so I do something else then and study in the evening.
- Highlight Keywords
This is something that most of the students do, but if you don’t, I suggest you do because it does really help. Read the text first, then reread it and highlight. Using different colours for different things, e.g. red means foreign word, yellow means time span during which something happened etc., is also very helpful.
- Write Summaries
This is the method that works best for me. Write a summary of the topic your exam is about. A lot of the time the texts in your books or on the handouts contain a lot of unnecessary text. So gather the important information, write it down and learn it. I, personally, prefer to write them down by hand because I feel that this way you’re already learning by writing the summary but of course you can also write it on your computer if that’s what you want. It does take some time though, depending on how big your topic is.
- Review Questions
Before the actual studying begins, write down some review questions. Things you want to know after studying. And when you’re done, you can look at them and see if you’ve learned everything or forgotten something. You can also use these to test yourself or others, if you exchange questions with another person.
- Make Flashcards
This is especially a good way of studying if it’s like vocabulary (French or German etc.). But it’s also very useful if you have to know the function or meaning of something. One of the benefits of flashcards is that you can take them anywhere you want. You can even have the flashcards on your phone. There’s an app called Quizlet. I use it myself and I really like it, you should definitely check it out.
- Use Post-it Notes
They are very useful as they stand out. They can be used as a reminder (e.g. you put it next to a text and it says ‘reread this!’ or ‘google this word’ etc.) or you can write your notes / thoughts on them, which is very helpful if you’re reading a book or another rather long text. You can get lost and Post-it notes help you stay organised.
- Use Your Space
This one is what I do when I really struggle with a topic or simply just don’t have enough time to study. You write the information / notes you need to know on small sheets or Post-it notes and put them everywhere in your house / apartment. It might look like you’ve gone crazy with notes all over the place but it does work! You should primarily put them on doors (this way you can tell yourself ‘I can only go through this door if I know what’s on the sheet’ or ‘if i can answer this question’, this may sound super weird but it works, believe me) or put them on the walls in the toilets. We all know sometimes you get lost in your thoughts or, most likely, your phone and spend quite a while in there. So instead of wasting your time on your phone, be productive and revise.
- Take Breaks Efficiently
Research has shown that concentration, comprehension, and memory progressively decreases after 45 minutes of solid studying. If you want to study smarter, take a 15 minute break every 45 minutes, during which time you stretch your muscles by walking around and rest your eyes and mind. I have done this and it works. But if you feel you can’t study for 45 minutes or if it’s not that much to study, then take a 5 minute break every 20 minutes.
- No Distractions Allowed
“You are getting distracted because you are allowing yourself to get distracted.” I recently heard this and it’s so true. We say ‘oh my phone keeps going off’ and things like that, we’re acting like the electronics control us when in fact it is the other way around. Put your phone away, shut your laptop down. Find a place where you can really study. Help your brain focus.
- Stay Hydrated
Adequate hydration is important for optimal functioning of the brain, therefore dehydration can adversely influence cognitive function. Drinking water is important during studying. I used to not drink a lot while studying but after I read that staying hydrated helps with studying, I gave it a shot and now I can’t go 10 minutes of studying without drinking water. It’s honestly refreshing, wakes you up AND it’s good for your health/skin, too!
- Eat The Right Food
There are different foods that stimulate your brain. I found a good article about that here, so be sure to check it out!
- Study With Other People
This one’s only for you if you’re really not distracted by other people. If you’re not, then this is a good idea. But be careful with who you choose to study with. Choose people who work harder than you, that’s when you work best and you’re less likely to waste time.
– I do have more study tips for you guys but I don’t want this post to be too long so if you want a part two of this, let me know! I hope you liked this and good luck with your exams!!