Studying is one of my least favourite things to do at university, however during this wonderful time period of exams we are in, it’s a must. It is time consuming, can be boring, stressful and a source of comparison to others. I have always found that the way I learn, and process information is quite a bit different to others. Therefore, when I try and join study groups or follow the methods told to me by teachers, it fails miserably. I begin to compare what I know to others, begin to doubt myself and get it in my head that I’m doing it all wrong. Yes, we are told all these tips and tricks of the ‘do’s and don’ts of how to study, but the reality is everyone learns different and what works for them may not work for others. I know what I should be doing, however I can never quite perfect inserting it into my life. So here is what I have found to be important for me, what I know I do wrong and how I sometimes fix it!
One – Lecture Attendance
It is always good to attend all your lectures whenever you possibly can. It keeps you on top of things, creates structure in your everyday life and ensures you don’t miss anything if the mic gets turned off or technology glitches. However, when your alarm goes off early in the morning, the new love island episode is out or it’s raining, it can be very easy to tell yourself to skip it and catch up later. Sometimes skipping one lecture turns into two then a week and so on. What you need to know is that your exam content will be in these lectures and just listening to them doesn’t mean you will understand and remember them therefore the more up to date you are with lectures before study leave the better. Without lectures, the rest of the study techniques are almost pointless. P.S 1.5x or 2x speed can be your best friend when you get behind.
Two – Note Taking
This is one of those things that everyone does differently so find what works for you and stick with it. I was always told that just rewriting your notes doesn’t work and highlighting isn’t useful. However, what works best for me is just that. Rewriting my notes allows me to pull out key information and think about it when I write it down. Highlighting makes me identify what I need to know and what to rewrite. Coloured pens also makes it more fun and pretty and any incentive to look at my notes is a good thing. Pretty much if someone is telling you that you are studying wrong, they are wrong in saying that.
Three – Positive Procrastination
I feel at our age, procrastination is inevitable. Instead of pretending that you don’t do it and pointlessly scrolling on Facebook for a couple of hours, actually embrace it. Give yourself an hour to watch a tv show then get into some study. I always find that when I have study to do, that is when my room is the cleanest and my washing is done because I’m trying to procrastinate. It even got to the point I was going to the gym at my peak workload time. The gym or exercise in general is a good stress relief and can make you feel very productive and like you have your life together, a good feeling you can put towards studying.
Four – Health
Eating, drinking and sleeping are key to success. I like to sleep 10 hours a night plus have naps so I can proudly say I’m nailing that aspect. Pulling all nighters and getting very little sleep is just going to ruin all your hard work as being tired is not the best state to be in for reading, analyzing and explaining. Having a drink bottle of water handy is always a must – being hydrated keeps your brain and the rest of you awake I have found. The food aspect is always the most challenging for everyone. Being stressed can make you reach for those treats that aren’t the best for you, instead of forcing yourself to cut them out and removing a source of happiness just create balance – fruit then chocolate?
The biggest thing when it comes to exams is to remember that it may seem like the most important thing in the world at this current point of time, but it is not everything. You are more important than a grade and when you are at your best, your grades will reflect this.
Good luck and let the countdown till break start!!