Most people need to start to learn and adapt to good studying habits at a young age to be successful at studying when they’re sitting on more important exams when they’re older. Many people find the earlier years of high school easy and can do well in their exams without revision, whilst this is fine at the time as they progress further through the education system they realize that they don’t know how to revise as they haven’t practiced it. Other people get so used to a certain way of studying, but as the workload increases and the content gets much harder their usual method may not cut it anymore and it may be difficult to adapt to a new method.
Luckily, there are so many ways to study that you’ll definitely find a method to suit you. There are traditional methods like writing and rewriting notes and there are now more accessible resources than ever available online so if you dislike the traditional methods you can try something newer like using a quiz website. If you’re struggling with your studies at the minute then the best person to ask for advice is a teacher, they’re trained to help every student so we’ve rounded up some of the best tips from the professionals and made a handy guide on how you can maximize your studying.
Don’t Just Read
If you’re currently studying for anything then you’ve probably heard your own teacher tell you a thousand times that reading doesn’t count as studying. You’re probably sick of hearing it but it is the most common mistake that students make so we’ve had to include it here. When you read and re-read your notes you may feel like you’re revising, but you’re not actively engaging your brain so it’s hard to retain the information. As a rule of thumb if it’s a quick method to learning information then it’s also a quick method to forget it too. Some students think that reading and highlighting important parts of the information is an effective way to study, but even this is not the case. This is a helpful thing to do as then when you begin to study you’ll know what things to prioritize, but this alone is not enough.
Alternatives to Reading
Now you know what definitely not to do, so next, we asked the teacher what students should do instead to study most efficiently. The most common answer that most teachers gave us was to create a study guide so that you’re organized and it’s clear in your head what topics you need to cover. Once you’ve done this one of the most effective ways of studying is to make up questions based on your notes and create a quiz, or check online to see if someone who has studied for the same exam as you in the past has already made one. It’s becoming more common for people to share their revision notes online which is great as it saves you time.
Other common methods that have proven to be successful among students include partnering up and teaching each other, if you’re teaching someone about a topic you have to thoroughly understand it, so if you can do this it’s likely you know the topic pretty well. Mind maps are also great if you’re a more visual learner and for more maths-based subjects the best way to study is to dive in and practice the application of the content on some past paper questions.
The Study Cycle
The study cycle is really important to understand if you want to maximize your studying, many teachers recommend learning about it and were surprised that most students were unaware of it. There are several stages to studying: reading the materials before class, attending class, reviewing what you learned during class, studying the content, and then checking that you thoroughly understand it. While this may seem obvious, the importance of it is underestimated and many students try to skip steps. For example, a student may not do the reading before class because they know their teacher will cover it. This is damaging to students learning as the most efficient way to learn is in different modes, reading, listening, and writing and through repetition. By engaging with the material through all three types of learning you’re much more likely to retain the information.
The intensity of your study session is another important factor in maximizing your studying. Having a short study session at a higher intensity is a much more effective way to study than spending hours studying and getting distracted whilst you do it. The optimal time for studying is between 30 and 45 minutes, recent studies have shown that this is how long your brain can work for at its best, any longer than 45 minutes and you won’t retain as much information.
Don’t Get Disheartened
Sometimes studying can get difficult and when you forget things that you thought you knew or get questions wrong you start to lose your motivation. This next tip will hopefully help you see mistakes in a new light. Making mistakes is actually one of the best things you can do whilst you’re revising. If you identify a problem whilst you’re studying then you’ll have time to ask for help and sort the problem out and be prepared for your exam, so don’t let mistakes get you down and put you off studying.