With exams just around the corner, students may start to feel the pressures of trying to absorb and retain their course content. We have put together some effective study tips to help reduce stress and increase your grades. Not every studying technique works for every student, so try experimenting with a few of these tips to find out which ones work best for you.
1. Create a Study Timetable
In order to avoid doing all your studying the night before your exam, we recommend creating a study timetable in the weeks leading up to your exams. Your study schedule should map out the scope of what you need to learn. Remember some subjects may require more preparation than others so make sure you balance your schedule according to the workload. Create a study timetable, print it out and stick it up where you can see it every day. This will make you more accountable and help you stick to the schedule that you have created.
2. Take Regular Breaks
Trying to cram your studying into as many hours as possible is not an effective way of retaining information. Our brains (and bodies) need breaks so make sure you take regular breaks whilst studying. We recommend researching the Pomodoro Studying Technique. This technique involves using a timer to break your study sessions into intervals of 25 minutes each, separated by short breaks.
The technique involves 5 easy steps:
- Decide and define the task at hand (E.g. Read one chapter)
- Set your timer (typically for 25 minutes)
- Start your task
- When your timer goes off, take a short break (5-10 minutes)
- After four x 25-minute study sessions are completed, take a longer study break
There are lots of apps and tools available online that support this method of studying. Try this Online Pomodoro Timer Tool.
3. Create Diagrams
When studying for exams, visual aids can be a great tool in breaking down information into bite-sized pieces. Instead of just rewriting the notes in your textbook, try to create diagrams and visual aids to help you understand and remember concepts. Don't waste too much time decorating and over-designing your study notes, but do try and keep your notes neat, simple and easy to understand.
Diagrams can aid your studying by:
- Providing an overall perspective on the course content (big picture)
- Making the studying process more enjoyable
- Improving photographic memory
- Helping to build creative and critical thinking
- Improve concentration
4. Re-watch Live Lessons
Studies have shown that the visual and auditory nature of videos allows viewers to process and retain information more effectively. All our Live lessons are recorded and saved on the CambriLearn platform. These lessons are available for you to watch at any time so make sure to brush up on your course content by re-watching our Live lessons during your exam prep.
5. Reward Yourself
Set yourself study goals and reward yourself for achieving them. Goal-setting and rewards are highly effective in self-motivation. Students are more likely to study hard when they feel good about themselves. So celebrate your success and remember to be kind to yourself! Every person is different and has different motivators so make sure your rewards are enjoyable and motivating to YOU. There are various ways that you can reward yourself for achieving your study milestones.
Here are some ideas of simple rewards to keep you motivated:
- 30 minutes of phone time for every 2 hours of study time
- Watch your favourite TV show
- Visit a friend
- Take a nap
- Eat a chocolate (see next point for more on this)
6. Eat & Drink
Have you ever heard the saying "you are what you eat"? Your diet impacts your energy levels and focus. Try to avoid eating too much junk food and rather opt for healthy meal choices to keep your brain and body well-fuelled. Foods such as fish, nuts, seeds, yoghurt and blueberries have been known to aid concentration and memory. We recommend eating a well-balanced breakfast and lunch to ensure that your body and brain function at their best during your exams. It is also important to keep well hydrated. Drinking enough water is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
7. Organise your Workspace
When studying online it is important to set up a workspace that is conducive to learning. Factors to consider when setting up your workspace include:
- Furniture: Sit at a desk with a comfortable chair. Choose a desk that comes to your rib cage and find a chair that fits the height of your desk. You should be able to rest your feet on the floor and avoid hunching your shoulders. Sit up straight and focus on keeping a good sitting posture.
- Lighting: A dimly lit study space can make you feel sleepy and put strain on your eyes. Ensure that you have enough light in the room and also make sure that your screen is not set too bright as this can also put strain on your eyes.
- Supplies: Keep your pens, paper and books etc. in an organised manner to avoid clutter. Keep these items accessible to avoid having to get up and break your concentration.
- Organise: Keep your workspace neat and tidy for an optimal learning environment. A clean work area can help keep you motivated and avoid distractions.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential to brain function and memory. When you are sleep deprived, your brain does not function at its optimum, this can lead to memory loss and irritability. Stay focused by ensuring that you get at least 8 hours of sleep whilst studying, especially during your exam time.
9. Review Past Exam Papers
Reviewing past exam papers is one of the most effective ways of learning for exams. This will also help you familiarise yourself with the format and structure of the question papers. When teachers set exams they often refer back to old exam papers, so digging up past exam papers is a valuable tool in ensuring that you have studied the right topics and concepts. CambriLearn offers students a variety of past papers to work through. Chat to your teacher about getting access to past exam papers available on our platform.
10. Get a Study Buddy or Group
Get together with friends for study sessions (just make sure you actually study). Use the opportunity to bounce ideas around and quiz each other. A study group is a great way to challenge yourself, just remember to stay focused on your study goals. Make use of the student forum on the CambriLearn platform to connect with other students.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our CambriLearn students the best of luck in their upcoming exams. Our qualified teachers are available to answer any questions and help you through your exams, so please reach out to us if you are feeling overwhelmed or have any questions during your exam preparations.