So, you have your timetable worked out and you are ready to study for your exam. All your notes have been checked and you have included study breaks in your schedule so you are not too tired to study. What comes next?
Setting your study environment There are a number of things you don’t think about when preparing to study that makes a huge difference to how receptive your mind is. An area is that is too busy with activity and noise will not help you concentrate better. A messy environment will also make it harder for you to focus, especially if you have to keep looking for things.
Clean your room and put away anything not related to the subject you are studying that day. This will give you more room to spread your notes and books. For some people baroque or classical music (no words) playing softly in the background helps you concentrate better.
Plan what to study first Look over your notes to work out a plan of action. Start with the easy sections first and finish them. This will give you more time to spend on the difficult sections. You will also feel better knowing you have covered more work in case you get stuck.
Remember to take breaks in between sections to give your brain time to absorb and store the work. Don’t study when you’re really tired. You won’t remember much and you’re likely to stop before you have studied what you need.
Different subjects require different study methods For maths and science, you need to know your formulae and how they work. Practice, practice and more practice by going over past papers and working through the examples in the book. The more your practice, the better your brain is trained to analyze.
For the rest, read your notes over and over. Test yourself at the end of each section to see what you know: If you are studying for a more social subject, do your research.
Rewriting and repetition Rewriting your notes is a great way to refresh your memory. When you re-write something, you think about what you are writing and what it is about at the same time. Use different colour pens for different sections to help boost your memory. Mind maps and spider diagrams will also help you recall your information quicker.
Review your notes Read over your notes and ask yourself questions relating to the information on the page before moving to the next section. See if you can remember what you have studied and highlight keywords to help kickstart your thought process.
Before going to bed read all your notes over again and say the answers out loud as if you are explaining it to someone else. Take a deep breathe to help you relax into sleep. It is important to sleep well before exams, so your mind will be alert during the exam.