If there is one thing most college students are often excited about, it’s the idea of graduating and getting started on their careers and the rest of their adult lives.
To get there, however, you first need to study hard and pass your exams. Luckily for you, this is an achievable goal if you are ready to put in the work.
How do you study effectively and make impressive grades in your exams? Here are some pointers.
1. Build A Good Foundation
Some students slack throughout the entire semester then attempt to revise at the last minute, hoping to make good grades. While this might work for the odd student, it’s not necessarily the best way to go about it.
Instead, begin working towards the end goal on the first day of the semester. This means attending all classes, paying attention during lectures, completing homework and assignments, participating in class, and so on.
All these actions will cumulatively help build the proper foundation for good performance.
2. Take Good Notes
As you attend your classes, make a point of taking good, detailed notes. These should capture essential details in a way that makes sense to you.
Include examples and anecdotes that will help you recall information better as you revise. Taking notes during class goes beyond creating a record. It also enables you to study acting and prevents you from mentally zoning in and out during a lecture.
It will also help you flag areas you are having difficulty with, so you can take the necessary measures in time and before your exams come around. If you can’t make heads or tails out of a lecture or a topic, contact your lecturer or enlist the help of a professional tutor here.
3. Begin Revision Early
Trying to grasp all the information learned during an entire semester the night before an exam is an exercise in futility. You will have insufficient time studying effectively and will likely feel stressed out and overwhelmed; this does not create the best environment for compelling study.
Instead, create a study schedule early on and stick to it; this should capture all your courses. Ensure to slot in enough time to revise for all your classes, with the more challenging courses getting more time than those you can handle easily.
You can go into more detail and note down the specific chapters to study and when – this further helps structure your study as your exam date approach.
4. Create A Study Space
Where you study carries as much weight as how you study.
An ideal learning environment can help prepare you psychologically for the task at hand and save you time.
Identify a study space where you can be the most productive. Ideally, it should have minimal foot traffic and few distractions. Your goal should be to focus on studying each time you settle down solely.
Aside from that, ensure your study space has all the necessary study tools. Once you sit down to study, you should focus on your revision, not finding the resources and tools you need. This saves you some time and enables you to maintain your concentration.
The other thing is to ensure your comfort. Get a comfortable seat and provide good lighting. Some people study best in complete silence, while others focus better on music or the TV. How you go about this is not cast in stone; find the option that works best for you.
5. Utilize Diagrams and Flow Charts
The brain is said to process images 60,000 times faster than it does written text.
This makes visual aids exceptionally useful when studying. At the beginning of a topic or chapter, write down everything you have learned. Then, as you start revising, try and transform the notes into diagrams and flow charts. Doing this will depend on visual remembrance, which can significantly aid your memory and recall during your exam.
Besides this, reading blocks and blocks of text can get tedious. Visual aids can help liven your study sessions.
6. Break Up Your Study Time
Revising for hours and hours on end might look like a great idea at the face of it, but it is counter-productive. Studying for long hours does not support knowledge retention, which you are going for when revising for an exam.
Instead, allow enough breaks during your study sessions. For example, study for 45 minutes to an hour before taking a 15-minute break. During this time, grab a snack, listen to music, walk outside for fresh air, and so on. These breaks might seem like a waste of time, but they help you decompress and enable the brain to refocus.
7. Study In A Group
Studying in a group helps break up the monotony of individual study.
However, you need to make this an effective study method by participating actively; this means listening and actively following group discussions and adding your input.
As much as possible, try explaining the concepts you have understood well to others; this not only helps other group members, but it helps cement your understanding. In addition, if you can explain something well to your friends, it means you will be able to recall it and present it accurately during your exams as well.
8. Go Through Past Exams
As exam day approaches, please make an effort to find old exams and use them to practice.
These papers are beneficial in several ways. The first is that exam boards tend to test certain concepts over the years. The questions might be phrased differently, but the fundamentals are often the same. Using past papers to study means you can pick out the main themes and trends expected in exams.
The other thing about using papers is that they can help you test your speed and flag knowledge gaps. So whenever you find yourself struggling on some topics, you will have the time to focus your study on these or get help well before sitting your exams.