I don’t know about you, but this is the time where my stress (and caffeine) levels are at an all-time-high. Because of assignments. And reports. And of course, finals. So today I thought I’d share some tips to study effectively for your exams. These tips have really helped me the past year, and hopefully they’ll help you out too!
No kidding, I was probably the biggest procrastinator that you would have ever met. I’m not going to lie, I still procrastinate a little. I know you do, too! That’s totally okay, as long as we have a clear idea of what we can procrastinate and what we absolutely cannot, right? One of those absolutely cannots is to study for your exams. I used to think it was okay and that cramming a few days before was fine. Well, it was until I made the slightly regrettable decision of majoring in an engineering course. No, I’m kidding. It’s all rainbows and butterflies. Ha-ha. So with my procrastination on an all-time-high, I failed a paper in my first semester. That was it, you guys. That smacked me real hard right in the face and motivated me to study, study, study. I’m glad to report that I did extremely well (proud!) for my second semester because of these super easy tips to study effectively.
Know the Type of Student You Are
One of the most important tips to study effectively is to know the type of student you are. Sounds weird, right? But I promise you, this makes a world of difference! Are you the type of student who writes down and absorbs everything the lecturer says? Or are you the type of student that absolutely cannot focus in lectures? Oops, guilty. I didn’t know this when I was in my first semester and I just scribbled down everything the lecturer said, while my head was literally walking into a Sephora store and swatching everything. I finally realised that what I was writing down was a bunch of useless stuff because I was writing down every. single. thing. I also realised that I study way better by myself. So now I just go into lectures and keep my ears open. Then after the class, I read through the notes and write down only the important bits, in my own words and how I understand it.
Choose Your Study Area Wisely
Most universities have a designated quiet study area. This study area was made for me (not literally haha). I absolutely cannot focus on anything when there’s people talking around me. You might prefer a much casual setting, perhaps a cafe? Remember, it’s all about what works for you!
Are Distractions Really All That Bad?
Music. We all love music. But many of my friends study in pin-drop silence. I personally can’t or I’d be too bored, haha! So I usually put in my earphones, and turn on an acoustic playlist on Spotify. In a quiet study area, with soft music in my ears, that’s where I’m in my own zone. That’s where I can effectively study and absorb. I’m going to be saying absorb a lot, for lack of a better term. And then there’s your phone. I know that just looking at your phone makes you want to scroll through Instagram or text a few friends. To me, that isn’t such a bad thing. I take a break when I feel like my brain is fully saturated. That’s the only time I use my phone in a study sesh though. If you’re too distracted by your phone and need to check it every two minutes, turn it off.
Know What the Subject You’re Studying For Is All About
This was one of the main things I was doing wrong in my first semester. Know what your subject is all about, is it more theoretically-based? Are there many things that you have to remember word for word? Or is your subject like mine, where it’s mostly based on calculations? If it’s theoretical, your lecture notes are your best bet. But if it’s all calculations, focus on doing a ton of examples and tutorial questions.
Sample papers, or past year papers are your best friend. They show you exactly what type of questions to expect in your finals. I also find that doing a ton of past year papers actually help because sometimes, there might be a repeat question in your actual paper!
Give Yourself Enough Time.. and Divide Accordingly
The most important tip to study effectively is of course, give yourself enough time. Look through your unit scope, your notes and think. I start studying a month and a half before my finals (which is a lot, considering one semester is only 12 weeks). If you’re doing a very heavy subject, start earlier so you can put all your focus into it before starting an easier subject. Dividing your time is so important! I do three weeks of theory and notes, where I actually read through notes and examples to make sure I understand. Then the remaining five to six weeks is spent on tutorial questions, examples and past year papers.
Those are a few tips to study effectively, and I hope it was helpful! There’s no set rule because everyone studies differently, so it’s really about what works for you. Ask yourself what type of student you are, find out what your subject requires, and give yourself enough time. Stop procrastinating, and lets aim for that 4.0 🙂
Thanks for reading, xoxo