Being organized in school can make all the difference to your performance in tests and exams. Proper studying starts with the right attitude – a positive mindset can convert studying from a punishment to a perfect opportunity to learn.
First, we suggest you determine what type of learner you are. Everyone studies and learns at least a bit differently. To start off with, it is helpful to think about how you prefer to learn and match your study techniques with your learning style. Generally speaking, we identify 4 main types of learners:
- The Visual Learner: learns mostly by seeing and prefers videos, images and demonstrations.
- The Auditory Learner: learns mostly by listening and prefers attending lectures, listening to recordings and by verbalizing lessons.
- The Read & Write Learner: learns mostly by reading textbooks and taking notes.
- The Kinaesthetic Learner: learns mostly by trial-and-error, and prefers hands-on activities to retain information.
Of course, these are not the only types of learners, but most people would fall into one or more of these categories. Once you are aware of and understand these learning styles, you can start studying more effectively!
Next, let us mention some good points that will help you ace your next exam.
- GET ORGANISED!
- Carry your homework diary at all times. Make sure you take note of all your homework that is due, when tests are coming up and any projects as soon as they are assigned. But writing down in your diary is not enough! You need to get into the habit of checking your diary as a daily routine. This will ensure that you never miss a deadline.
- PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS
- Although this sounds obvious, many students take this for granted. It is crucial that you concentrate and avoid distractions when your teacher is speaking. Practice active learning by focusing on what is being said and more importantly, start taking notes in your own words. This will help you not only to have a good idea of what was said in class, but also to help you absorb it faster.
- MAKE SURE YOUR NOTES ARE COMPLETE
- Incomplete notes are a frequent problem for students. In order to ensure that your notes are complete, we suggest that you try to prepare yourself as much as possible before going into class, so that you are not distracted while the teacher is talking and therefore you can write down all that is important. Talk to your friends or the teacher if you suspect that you have missed something. Filing your notes in a way that you think suits you best is also important. Remember, those notes will eventually become study notes, which you will revise closer to the test date!
- REVIEW NOTES FROM CLASS EVERY EVENING
- Although this may sound like a very demanding task, it does not have to be. Try to allocate at least 20-30 minutes of your evening to skim briefly through what you have done at school every day. You do not have to memorize your notes, but this will help you be prepared for the next day of learning.
- MAKE A STUDY PLAN
- A good study plan helps you to become aware of how long it takes you to grasp certain concepts that you learn in class. Your first study plan may not be as realistic as you expect, but the more you practice making plans for your studies, the better you start to understand the way you learn and how long it usually takes you to do so.
- FIND A GOOD STUDY AREA
- Everyone prefers different places to study. However, we can all agree on the fact that we need a relaxed environment, somewhere that is well-lit and clear of distractions. Make sure you have enough space to work comfortably and try to sink into what you are doing.
- STUDY IN SHORT BURSTS
- For every 45 minutes you study, take a short, but strict, 10-15 minute break to recharge. Short study sessions are more effective and help you to make the most of your time. Longer study sessions will typically make you feel very tired and discouraged to study.
- SIMPLIFY YOUR CLASS NOTES
- In class, you are more focused on making sure you note everything that the teacher is saying rather than how you are writing. By shortening and simplifying your notes once you understand them, you can organize the information into your brain to help you remember better.
- (OPTIONAL) STUDY WITH A GROUP
- Studying with your friends encourages an interactive environment to keep you engaged. This gives you the opportunity to share your ideas and to listen to how others retain information and understand it. In addition, you could also help to boost each other’s confidence.
STUDY SMART, NOT HARD
Acknowledging your learning style to be able to study effectively is a skill that will benefit you for life. Adhering to the above points requires time and patience, but the reward is substantial. Follow these tips to be on your way to discover which learning style works best for you, so that you may knock your next exam result out of the park!