When it comes to remembering the stuff you need to know before an exam, flipping through your study notes and trying to cram all that information in is not going to work. The most important things to do is to take the time to absorb the information in a meaningful and active way. Here are 4 essential study tips to help you revise for your exams in the near future.
1. Always take down your notes in your own words (even better, by hand)
Instead of blindly copying down what is shown on the whiteboard or lecture slides, listen to what the teacher is explaining and try to take it down in your own words. This action creates a deeper understanding of what is being taught, which will make it stick in your mind. As most of us type faster than we write, writing down notes by hand will also somewhat force you to slow down to process the information fully.
2. Set a study schedule that allows time for testing yourself.
Many psychology studies have shown that the best way to see whether you remember something is to test yourself. Often, most students will start revising a week or so before an exam. This doesn’t allow for much time in between to do a mock test for themselves. Give yourself the time to study, take a practice exam, then study some more.
This also means that your studying should be spread out over 1-2 weeks in small portions (say, 45 minutes a day) instead of cramming in one six-hour session.
By starting a study schedule at least 2 weeks before the exam and following this “study, test, study, test” schedule, you are able to check for gaps in your memory and use the next study session to fill them.
3. Try making a mind map
A mind map is a creative way of connecting all the information in one subject together in an easy-to-view layout. By linking various pieces of information together, you are able to see everything together in a bigger picture, helping you to make sense of it more. Try creating your own mind map
4. Remove all forms of distraction
The final tip is also the one that’s the hardest to do, but necessary! Remove what you feel are major distractions for you whenever you are revising through your study notes. This could be your phone that keeps vibrating with notifications, someone in the house that won’t stop interrupting you, or even the music that you are listening to. One way to determine whether something is a disruption is to see if it’s interrupts you every 15 minutes.
Taking the first step in implementing these tips may be tough at first, but with some practice, you may find yourself remembering more & more of your study notes so do not be afraid to start trying it out now!