Effective study demands quality focus. It’s hard to make headway in any learning without this particular quality. It is this quality that will get you those extra marks.
And now here is my small effort to help you think about how you can study better. Simply reading this stuff won’t necessarily get you top grades — applying them is what really matters.
Onto the tips…
- Find a quiet place where you can work regularly. This place should be dedicated to study, free of potential distractions from friends or family — yes folks, even your cat.Regular work in such an environment helps form good, effective study habits, and improves concentration and focus. Distractions waste precious time and cause tension.
- Get rid of clutter. Keep things simple — keep things tidy.
- Get a study timetable organized and prioritize. Prepare a list or timetable for tasks for that day, and for the week and number them according to which ones need to be done first. These get the priority and will not necessarily be the easiest.
- Mark and label all your work folders and content and place them in separate piles so that you can clearly see how much work you need to do and what has already been revised. Tick off the tasks as they are completed.
- Make sure that the area for your study is well lit and has an ambient temperature where you can focus. The quality of focus determines the quality of understanding. You cannot apply what you learn without understanding and exams test your ability to apply what you have learnt.
- The Motivation for Learning should be clear — top grades will mean higher earnings and a better quality life. Learn to work for them…
- Food: What you eat affects your thinking. The Rule is Eat Little — but often. Eat healthy meals such as fish, fruits, and sandwiches that provide the vitamins and minerals that you need and do not make heavy demands on your digestive system.
- Know when You are ‘Switched On’. Try to be aware of your bio clock and what time of the day you work best. Optimise by revising when you work best but keep an eye on the exam date and time. You will need to get used to working at that hour.
- Do The Challenging Revision First — when you are fresh. Trying to focus on difficult problems when you are tired can be difficult.
- Look after your physical health. Take regular breaks, get plenty of fresh air and do some walking or stretching.
- Study in small chunks lasting 25 to 35 minutes. Your memory and concentration will work better if you study in short bursts but often…
- Get a chair that is firm but comfortable. Avoiding back problems is important.
- Drink plenty of water during the revision periods. Before an exam, avoid drinking too much, as you may need a toilet break which can waste exam time.
- Get good, regular sleep and rest. You will think and work better as a consequence.
- Avoid any stimulants such as caffeine. Stay natural.
- Say the Stuff Out Loud —saying the stuff out loud will help promote a deeper understanding of the material you are reading. However,
- You may prefer seeing things on paper. That suggests that your learning style is visual and you should use lots of diagrams and colour to memorise and understand your work.
- Review stuff soon after learning. Convert any learning to personal notes as this helps understanding and memory.
- Try to link any new stuff to things you know already. This is learning through association that helps long term retention.
- Resources: Make a list of resources available for help and study. This means noting the places you can study such as libraries or other quiet places, and people you can turn to for help when you get stuck. These could be your classmates, family or most importantly, your teacher.
- Make your learning Interactive. In class don’t hesitate to ask about the things you don’t understand as in the long term learning honesty always pays off…Explaining and discussing your work with others also helps.
- Oxford University, like others, encourages the students to come well prepared before they come to any tutorial or lesson. This means doing prior reading and coming to class to get answers to the things you did not understand when working independently.
- Attend all revision classes. They will help revision, provide an opportunity for you to ask teacher any questions, and get you out into some fresh air!
So who do you think is good at all this stuff? Well…strangely I keep thinking of my cat!
She is patient, has great focus, and stops to think about the bigger picture before rushing into things.
Have to admit — I don’t really measure up to her standards!
I think my cat’s a pretty brilliant teacher!
Good luck with all your exams and keep an eye on this space — we intend to help you succeed!