Good study habits can and will be created by using the following tips as a guide:
Having a good study area can make a huge difference to how well you learn. Study in a well-lit, quiet area, well away from noise and people in the house however, when this is impossible, you might well be better off studying at the library. The key element to your success is making sure that your desk is tidy and organised – a tidy desk means you can concentrate on studying and learning, not trying to find information.
It is important to find out what format the exam will take ie.
Are the questions in essay, short answer or multiple choice format?
Is the exam open book or closed book?
Knowing how the exam is marked and what proportion of your total mark it’s worth might also be helpful.
Make a to do list before each study session. Breaking tasks down into small, manageable tasks will make it less overwhelming. Cross them off as you go.
Ask your teacher for past exam papers. They can be a useful insight into what your exam will be like and can also provide a guide for what you know and the areas in which you need help. If possible, practice some under exam conditions and get your teacher to mark them.
Forming a studying group can be a helpful way to revise your notes and work through past exam questions (it can also help you feel supported, keep you motivated and focused).
A study group may be a good place to have any questions you might have answered.
Ask your teacher if they know of anyone else interested in studying with other people.
If you find that you are being distracted by the phone or emails, it might help to put the answering machine on or get others in the house to take messages for a while. You can always ring people back later.
Write down key concepts you have to learn on small sheets of paper followed by examples of how they are used. Post these sheets around your house eg, the bathroom mirror, your ceiling above your bed, the back of your toilet door, or the shower screen door. Be creative, place small cards in your lunch box, make a place mat for the dinner table but whatever you do, have fun with it as skills learned in an atmosphere of fun and support are often more easily retained by the student.
However you choose, it all helps with remembering things like equations, quotes and foreign languages.
Your teacher or tutor can help if you are having trouble developing a study routine or need help with understanding subjects or a particular topic.
It is important to remember that asking for help doesn’t mean you’re a failure or stupid – to the contrary, it is very smart to tap into their experience and knowledge to help you perform better.
As a student, it is important also that you keep going back to to your teacher or tutor if you’re still uncertain or have more questions that need answering. It’s their job to be available for you.
Some people work better using text based memory tools, like acronyms
eg. ROYGBIV – colours of the rainbow
Some people learn better using acrostics eg Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit.
Some people find visual tools more useful, eg Mind Maps or tree diagrams.
Getting up, moving around and away from your desk at least every 50 minutes for 10 minutes makes you concentrate and learn better.
Sometimes reading through notes doesn’t result in learning or understanding. Include the following in revising each topic:
• Vocabulary, technical terms definitions
• Summaries of points
• Formulae, rules, diagrams, charts
• Ability to understand relationships.