Loading a huge portion of your syllabus into your head for your exams is not a walk in the park and traditional methods like cramming late into the night have already been proven as counterproductive.
The BBC concluded that ‘cramming doesn’t work’; and spaced out studying is far more effective than cramming for majority of the students.
So, what do students do now?
One rule that can make it easier to get down to studying is by setting a timetable well in advance and following it religiously (without last minute cramming). Besides that, here are some hacks that we’ve put together to make studying and learning (in a better way) a doable task for you.
Take notes, these study hacks are here to give you the edge, no matter what!
- Make your notes fancier – Befriend highlighters & coloured pens!
Use different coloured pens to colour-code your notes. Give them a makeover!
When you sit down to learn and revise, keep a bunch of highlighters handy. Use different colours for heading, subheadings etc. This will also make your notes less monotonous and easy to consume, while highlighting the most important parts will help you revise more effectively.
- Be physically alert – Exercise (or just walk)!
Take a brisk walk for about 20 minutes, it is more than enough to keep you awake and active!
Exercise is proven for boosting memory and brain power. If you are physically alert, your mind will be alert too and fully charged to give a good performance. So, don’t skip out on exercise!
- Jog your memory – Spray scents or chew a gum!
Spray an unfamiliar scent while studying and spray it again right before a test.
If our sense of smell can take us back to various memories of the past, they can very well help us remember what we’ve studied! A weird flavoured gum works the same way as an unfamiliar scent. They both help you jog your memory!
- Retain information – Pick challenging fonts!
Any information presented in a challenging font has more chances of it being retained in your brain.
It’s pretty simple; avoid easy-to-read fonts like Arial, Courier, and Verdana. Use challenging fonts like Haettenschweiler, Monotype Corsiva or Comic Sans Italicized.
- Make notes – Use post-its!
Post-its serve as flashcards to quickly test your knowledge of key concepts and formulas.
Write down anything you’re having difficulty with on a post-it, so that you don’t have to flip through everything when desperately looking for information. This is especially true when revising right before an exam, you can thank us later!
- Improvise learning – Switch study place!
Study in a different room in your house, or frequent different coffee shops!
You may like to sit in one place at a stretch while studying, but information is actually retained when you keep switching places. Ensure that you do not get distracted and focus on your studies wherever you are.
- Reinforce learning – Study in a group!
Teaching what you have learnt is the best way to reinforce learning.
In a group, everyone benefits from strengths and overcomes the weaknesses of each member. In addition, group discussions are done loudly so you are more likely to retain what you hear than studying in a quaint room all by yourself.
- Avoid mental block – Take a break & reward yourself!
Long study hours are not beneficial and you’ll end up with mental block.
Study for 30 minutes to 1 hour at a stretch with 15-minute break. Reward yourself every time you finish a chapter or a set portion. Play your favourite game for 15 minutes, watch your favourite programme, have cookies or a chocolate – we call it self-motivation!
- Repeat, repeat & repeat!
Repetition drills information right in.
It’s fine to mentally or verbally repeat new information so it gets stored permanently. Make sure you are not doing this 5 minutes before an exam, though!
- Discipline yourself!
Block your favourite pastimes (like any social media app) on your gadgets for a while.
Trust us! They’ll very much be there when your exams are over.
Every student is different and so is his/her way of learning. A student won’t be able to tick off all the above hacks. Some still prefer cramming late into the night, while some are early birds. Some prefer studying alone, while some like to study in a group. Hence, it is of utmost importance to know which style suits you best and pick accordingly!
Comment away and tell us your preferred learning style!