As a student I remember at times I would love the material I was learning and I found it easy to study and then perform in the exams and assessments. But most of the time this wasn’t the case. I remember struggling with many subjects in both assessments and exams. For some of these, especially in the first year of study, after many hours of study I could raise my grade to a pass or credit in the final results. By the end of the 4th year my marks were distinctions and high distinctions. I’d like to believe this was a reflection of hours of devotion to my studies and a greater understanding of the material. But I’m afraid it was just better use of my memory to help me recall information. I’ve included some of my tips below, and a few extra I’ve discovered since that might just help you maximise your chance at better grades this semester.
- Go for a walk before an exam to improve your cognitive functioning
- When you are studying try teaching the material to someone, or something else (pets, siblings, a camera)
- Reward yourself with a small treat at the end of each block within the subject and a bigger reward at the end of a topic.
- Create mental associations with the use of mind maps – use different colours to break into topic areas and different lines to show relationships between certain topics.
- Draw diagrams to help you recall process, parts of the body, machines etc
- Use times new roman font – its the fastest to read
- Create Flash cards in different colours to help you review the material
- Watch a documentary or TED talk on the topic
- Vary your place of study – changing environment helps you improve recall and retention
- Use practice exams
- Take regular study breaks – after 1.5 hrs no new information is assimilated
- Study in a group
- Don’t stay up all night the night before an exam, sleep improves the functioning of the brain.
- Engage in some mediation or relaxation techniques to help with concentration and reduce stress levels.
- Use a Self Control app that helps block your access to social media and websites for a specific period of time. I’ll post more about this app later in the week.
So give them a go and see if you can improve your results this semester!