No one can deny the joy of winter transforming into spring, of days getting longer and a genuine mood of optimism which is tied to the arrival of warm weather. However, spring is when many students must start studying for upcoming exams. If this is you, ‘stress’ is likely to be your most-used adjective. And if you’re at a different stage in your education, you may be wondering how to remember avalanches of new information while working on assignments and practicing the skills you need to get good grades.
Well, if consistency is key with anything, it is studying. Consistently going over older topics throughout the academic year and making the effort to understand trickier ones straight away will save you the grief of facing the unfamiliar a week before your exams. Always start early to give yourself the opportunity to find techniques which work for you and after that, apply them on a regular basis. This principle, although explained in simplistic terms, guarantees less stress in the run up to exams. Throughout my International Baccalaureate (IB) experience, frequent revision throughout the programme was my saving grace: given the absence of exams in your first year, two years’ worth of information has to be firmly planted in your mind for a three week exam period , which is better done far in advance than days before your first paper.
However, as mentioned, how we best retain information depends on our individual characteristics and the subject for which we are studying. For example, a visual learner will find greater utility in colourful mind maps than an auditory learner, and flashcards could prove futile for exams which test critical thinking as opposed to memory. You have to remain flexible and adjust your strategy based on what’s required and what works for you. In other words, not retaining information through a specific technique does not make the exam a lost cause; you must simply step back and search for a different method.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite ways to study that are pretty interdisciplinary and can be adapted based on your preferred learning style. These are active ways to retain information because they push you to engage with the content, unlike something passive like reading textbooks and/or taking notes (but, both of these are important and I will be doing a separate post on how to maximise their potential soon). Also, keep in mind that I am neither a teacher nor examiner; all of these tips are recommended based on my experience. They will not work for every reader, and my advice is by no means composed of indisputable facts! Always seek help from members of your educational establishment if you are struggling with understanding content or forming your revision plan. View Full Post