Tuesday, 30 August 2011

3 Tips to Study for Exams

And, once again, we arrive at that dreaded time in the school year where absolutely anything (even cleaning your room!) looks more appealing than studying...

Sad as it is, exams are an inevitable part of school life. Not to mention the fact that (as much as we all hate them) they play an incredibly important part in deciding our future careers. Now, I have no doubt you have all heard plenty of information on 'how to study' from your teachers at school but here are three simple tips that I think are the most important to keep in mind:

1. Avoid distractions. If there is one thing I would say to anyone studying for an exam, THIS IS IT. Distractions, especially electronic ones like facebook, emails and television can really eat away at your time and, at the end of the day, leave you wondering where it all disappeared to. I'm sure you've all been in the situation where you've sat down at your computer to download a past exam paper or type up some notes and thought *I'll just quickly check my facebook*... Next thing you know, you've just spent an hour chatting to your friend online. 
I know the urge to 'just go on for five minutes' is strong but, trust me, it's best not to indulge it at all. The easiest way to do this is to avoid the computer altogether. Try doing as much study as you can without it (print off those past papers beforehand, handwrite your notes) and, if you absolutely must use it, make sure you avoid clicking on those distracting sites.

2. Take breaks. This may seem counter-intuitive but I think it's actually a key aspect to studying efficiently. Why? Because it's unrealistic to expect yourself to study all day long and, besides, the thought of spending an entire day slogging away at your studies can be incredibly demotivating (and you may feel more inclined to waste your time). Instead, try and intersperse your study sessions with things you enjoy doing. Watch some TV, read a book, call a friend - but make sure you keep an eye on the time! 

A really good way to take a break is a go for a run or walk. I did that this morning and it left me feeling refreshed and revitalised for the day ahead.  It's also a good way to give your mind a break and work on your body instead!

3. Make it fun! I know, I know, 'study' and 'fun' seem to be two words that just don't go hand in hand but, if you don't believe me, think back to primary school when you used to actually be excited to go to school each day. Learning was such an exciting prospect back then and, because of all the fun you had, it didn't even feel as though you were doing any! Although recreating that feeling is more difficult now, with the pressures of exams and the material you have to cover, it isn't entirely unrealistic. Make posters, write with nice pens on coloured paper, draw pictures, organise a study session with your friends, create quizzes - there are lots of ways to spice up your study to make it more motivating. And, if that doesn't excite you, think about why you're studying in the first place. Is to do well in school so you can get a good job and earn lots of money? Is it to have a great lifestyle in future? Is it for a sheer love of learning? Whatever you reason may be, think about that as you tackle your next English essay or maths problem. I don't know about you, but future holidays in exotic locations are certainly a good motivator!

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