10 Study Tips For Exam Preparation
Getting into the study zone can be hard, so here are some key tips to help improve your study game and help nail those exams:
1) Get your study space organised
It’s important to set up a comfortable space with minimal distractions. Is your desk tidy? Is your chair comfortable? Have you turned off your phone? To ensure you get the most from your study time, make sure all these are in order first.
2) Take regular study breaks
Elite athletes don’t train non-stop before a race and the same applies for studying. Cramming for hours before an exam may seem like a good idea, but without taking regular breaks, your productivity levels and focus can decrease. Productivity experts recommend a study sessions 50-90 minutes with 15-20minute breaks in between.
3) Drink plenty of water
Your brain is 73% water. It takes only 2% dehydration to affect your attention, memory and other cognitive skills. Make sure you stay hydrated during your study session so your brain can function at its best.
4) Make a study plan
As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Put together a physical study plan (this can be on a calendar or digitally) with everything you want to cover before an exam, so you have something to refer to and tick off once you have completed a task to help keep you on track.
5) Set study goals
Give yourself something to work towards in each study session. It could be something as simple as ‘summarise chapter 4’ or ‘complete a practice paper within an hour’, but this will help to keep you on track of what you are revising. Try beginning your study session by writing down your goals and keep updating them for your next session.
6) Snack on brain food
Your nutrition has a big impact on your focus and alertness. Rather than binging out on high sugar/high fat junk foods, fuel your brain and body with low GI, high protein options to keep your energy levels steady and hunger pains at bay. Some good brain food options are nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, fruit salad, Greek yoghurt, apples with peanut butter or vegetable sticks and hummus.
7) Give yourself enough time
Cramming is ineffective to retain information, so don’t wait till the night before your exam to review your course material. Instead, run through your course materials at the end of each week to help clarify anything you didn’t understand in the lecture or classroom. About 4 weeks before exams is a good time to start doing course revision and organising a study plan.
8) Practice makes perfect
Doing practice exams on past papers are a great way to prepare yourself on what to expect from your exams. Past papers help you familiarise yourself with the exam format and test out the areas that you are good at, and those areas that you may need to dedicate more study time to.
9) Move your body
Studies have found strong links between brain function, memory recall and exercise, so don’t skip your workout to cram in extra study time! If you really pressed for time, trying incorporating exercise into your study sessions by reading your notes while walking on the treadmill, doing chair squats or wall sits. Going for a short walk in the fresh air during your study break will is a great way to get the blood flowing and reset your mind.
10) Get enough sleep
Don’t compromise on sleep to fit in more study – your body and brain need to rest! A lack of sleep can lead to reduced productivity and increased stress levels, neither of which you want to bring into an exam room. So make sure to get enough Zs especially the night before your exams.