Exam season is here!
If you’ve been bitten by the procrastination bug (who hasn’t?) when it comes to studying and are horrified to find yourself unprepared for your upcoming exam – berate yourself later!
Instead, stop wasting time and start studying smart. Here are some tips on studying effectively at the last minute – though, we hope you don’t make it a habit of it in the future…
Focus on one topic at a time
In the midst of a panic, you might be tempted to sift through several textbooks and pour over multiple notes at one go to cram as much information as possible in one sitting.
But rather than try to do too many things at once, focus on one topic at a time. This can help you fully absorb the information you’re reading before you jump into the next subject. If you don’t have time to read the whole chapter, go through the summary or your lecture notes.
Use mnemonic devices
Mnemonic devices are nifty ways of helping you remember information. Whether it’s a long list of things or learning something in the correct order, mnemonics can help.
One example includes taking the first letter of each word that needs to be memorised to form a memorable sentence. You might remember your school teacher getting the entire class to remember the planets in our solar system with “My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nachos” instead of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Go ahead and use the same technique. Just be sure to use those that are memorable for you or they won’t be effective.
Immediately after reading your textbook (or its summary), try summarising the content on one page in your own words to help you recall the information you’ve just studied. Experts believe writing can help you retain information better than typing things out on a keyboard.
You can even write your notes on flash cards, making it easier to carry and read when you’re on the go.
Science suggests that teaching others is an effective way to retain knowledge.
So, after reading your notes, see how well you can explain the concepts to a friend, sibling or parent. This can help you to identify areas where you need to brush up on your knowledge so you’ll know exactly what to read again in your notes.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
Have you heard of the forgetting curve? It describes the rate at which something is forgotten after it’s learnt.
Since we can quickly forget new information within a few days of learning something new, don’t forget to quiz yourself at regular intervals to help you recall the information you’ve studied.
Avoid merely re-reading your notes as quizzing yourself forces you to recall the information. Carry flash cards so you can review your notes when you’re stuck.