Studying for tests can feel for some students like a nightmare became reality. However, the reality is that studying is part of the learning experience.
Education is one of the most important factors that determine our success in life. When we study hard and diligently, brick by brick we build a bright future for ourselves. Malcom X said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
Preparing for tests can be stressful and we can sometimes feel overwhelmed. That’s why we want to share 6 easy tips on how you can study better to perform your best academically.
1. Change your mind, change your life.
First things first, your mind-set will always determine the outcome. It doesn’t matter how hard you study, if you go into an exam with the mind-set of self-doubt and believing that you’re dumb, then chances are you aren’t going to perform your best. That’s why you need to clear your mind of the word “can’t” and start believing that if you put in the work that is required, then you will get great marks.
2. Use colour-coding.
The way you make your study notes will have a huge impact on how you remember information. Learn to work with different coloured high lighters and pens. For example: for new terminology, use the colour pink to highlight your work. Definitions can be purple. Names, places and dates can be highlighted orange. Scientific names can be in green. Other important information can be in yellow.
Another useful tip to know is that you are more likely to remember information if you use a blue pen instead of a black pen. This is due to how your eyes receive and store information.
3. Write it out.
When you study from a text book, learn how to make good notes and summaries. You might think that writing out your work will take too much time, but writing the information out once is the equivalent of reading over the information seven times – because you actually pay close attention to the words. Therefore, you might as well take a little bit extra time to write it out and remember it better. Keep in mind however that if you want to study this way you have to have enough time on your side. If you don’t, you can always just write out the topic headings with key points.
4. Say it out loud.
You are about 50% more likely to remember information when you say it out loud versus just reading quietly over it. We suggest you make your summary notes on a certain topic, read very diligently through it once or twice and then read it out loud. You can also repeat what you read out loud in your own words, explaining the work to yourself. However don’t do this if you are studying in a group – you will distract and disturb the other students.
5. Choose the best time to study.
When you’re deciding on a time-frame, always remember not to cram in as much as possible in the least amount of time! Our brains can’t store all the information for a test the night before. So make sure to start studying at least 5 days before the test. If it is a lot of work and you know you will need more time, plan accordingly.
The best time of day to study is considered to be during the early mornings – as our brain-functionality is at its highest then. To be exact, brain functionality is at a level of 90% during 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Later during the day brain functionality decreases to 50%. Late at night it’s more or less 20%. Remember that this isn’t true for all people. Some are truly night-owls and more creative and productive during the evening.
With growing children it is however advisable to have a daily routine that matches that of the school. In fact, routines are even more important because it reinforces neural circularity. Study in the mornings before school and definitely after school in the afternoons. If you perform better by studying at night, then you need to do what is best for you, but generally speaking, try to avoid studying very critical and important work late in the evenings. Sometimes unfortunately it is necessary to stay up later to get through your work. Just remember to get enough sleep. For primary school children 8 hours of sleep is needed and for high school children at least 6 hours of sleep will do.
6. Flavours and scents.
Did you know just by chewing flavoured gum you can gain about 24% extra on your tests? When you chew a certain flavour gum while studying and then the same flavoured gum right before taking your test (or even while you are taking your test) it will help you to recall information much more effectively.
You can read the full article from NewScientists.com here: ‘Chewing gum improves memory’.
There are many other study techniques you can follow, but these are quick and easy to do. We hope you will use them when you are studying for your next test. Let us know if you have tried any of these techniques. What other study tips can you share with us?