“Quality is never an accident, it is always the result of an effort of intelligence.” - John Ruskin

Albert Einstein once said that one should not think of studying as a chore, but view it rather as a wonderful opportunity to learn. This is then to way to approach study and not as an activity which is boring and to be avoided at all costs … because an evening out with buddies is far more desirable. Right? This is very often the thinking of students who, with a little bit of effort and sacrifice, could do so much better at their studies!

Gen Y or millennials will tell you that they love to have fun. The top three things that they enjoy doing are watching movies, playing video games and watching TV… at all costs avoiding boredom.

On the other hand, studying still has to be done. What if we can show you a way to approach your studies in an engaging, interesting way? Want to know more? Without generalising, it is, of course true that we all seek to know more as we go through life. Many of us just want the process to be more absorbing.

The great team at Superprof have explored many sources and come up with 15 great study tips which will make your periods of study more productive and help you ace your exams!

We guarantee you that, once you’ve read through our informative article, that the impressive tips we’ve shared will make you breeze through any assessment! You might not need or employ all of them. Simply decide what is the best way to study for exams … for you, and select what works for you!

Let’s go!

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Set up a Study Timetable

Wow! Time really flies, hey? Where’s the time gone?

These are generally the comments heard when people realise that they’ve run out of preparation time. Don’t let this happen to you and your studies. Create a study schedule to help you control the madness!

Some students may do well even although they have done last-minute swotting. However, not everyone is cut out for this type of exam preparation. Thus, the best way to study for exams would be to follow a structured programme or study time-table.

While you can use the Calendar app on your cell phone, you could also lay out your schedule on a printed copy of a calendar. That way, you would be able to cross off exams as you knock them down, like pins at a bowling alley!

The visual impact of your study programme can be quite encouraging, as it helps tremendously with keeping you organised and calm.

The advantage the hand-crafted one has over your smartphone's Calendar app is that you would personally have designed it, so you’ll have given a lot of thought to how it is structured. Also, when pinned up in your study space, it will serve to remind you every day of what is on your immediate and longer-term horizon and, so, keep you focused!

Copy out Your Revision Notes

This is definitely one of the hottest study tips for exams and there are a number of ways to do this. While some students copiously copy out all their course notes – some schools even require learners to do so daily. Some learners only copy down the most salient points. Do these activities help at all? You bet they do! Many will state that they owe their best results to the rewriting of the class notes.

It may be great or convenient to use the computer for this purpose. However, when seated in the exam room, you won’t have that luxury and having written it out will then be of immeasurable benefit.

Make Use of Differently Coloured Pens

One of the great study tips for exams is to make use of pens of different colours – or different coloured highlighters! This will highlight different sections of work and make them stand out for you come exam time!

Sounds a bit puerile? Don’t you believe it! If you write it out neatly in large letters, which you highlight, the visual image may become so striking that you’ll recall it readily in the exam room!

Plan Well for Exam Day

studying with a plan
To effectively study and avoid distractions a schedule needs to be established. (Source: Unsplash)

Procrastination is a thief of time! This well-known idiom is 100% true for anyone who is preparing for an exam. The worst thing you can do is put it off for tomorrow. Planning well in advance of an exam will have your cruising on idle mode into your exams, without any pre-exam anxiety.

Study your exam time-table. Make sure you know on which days you write and at what time. Also, ensure that you know where your exam venue is located on campus. Here’s where technology can help you. Type in all the details into the Calendar on your phone ... and check every detail twice. Set a reminder to go off at least two hours before the exam! Allow for extra travelling time if you live off campus and have to travel in during the morning traffic peak.

One thing is sure: you don’t want to miss an exam because you didn’t pencil in how to get there or you got the day or time wrong!

Stay Fresh: Take Many Small Breaks

There is nothing worse than burn-out! Like a driver on a long road trip, it is important for you to take regular, small breaks. This will create some time for you to step away from the books, do something pleasurable like cracking a joke with a friend and getting a drink of water or a fruit to sustain you over the next 45 minutes or hour. You will return to your studies refreshed and you will avoid reaching the point where your mind goes blank and you end up staring at your notes, not taking in anything. That would be counter-productive. Right?

The same applies to taking an hour-long break and only studying for 15 minutes. Consistency and focus are important aspects of study, since they are going to be required of you when you sit down and face an exam. So, what do we suggest? It would be a good idea to take a 10- or 15-minute break for every hour of study. In that way, the brain gets to chill a bit and do something less demanding. Breaking your periods of study up into bite-sized chunks and giving your brain some rest or diversion, will serve to make your review sessions interesting and more effective, obviating burn-out!

Set an alarm to announce your break, since you may be so engrossed in your studies that you forget.

For your own sanity and for great results, close your books, step away and do something light, like watching a funny YouTube clip. You’ll get relief, seriously!

Form a Study Group

There are, of course, different ways to study! One of them is to form a study group.

Forming a study group, is great for many individuals, especially if those who have an extroverted character. You will enjoy the interaction with others and revel in the idea of sharing your interpretation of a topic with others and receiving feedback from them. This is, however, not true for everyone, as we are all different. A study group may be a nightmare for an introverted student as well as for a very serious student, who may find that some of the group members are too playful!

For a study group to be effective, it must be small, consisting of two or three members, and well-structured.

The individuals best suited would be those who know one another well and have a similar work ethic. It would help is you have worked together on a project in the past! Start working together far in advance of your final exams so that you can develop a modus operandi (used positively here)!

Set up you study group carefully to avoid any undue stress as you head towards your exams!

Schedule Some Down Time

Plan your down time! Set it out as reward for working hard so that you don’t feel guilty when you take the time out to let your hair down for a little while. It’s been said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. A little time away from the books can help relax your mind tremendously!

How to do it?

Plan at least one leisure activity with friends to give you that much-needed breather. It doesn’t have to be anything major. It can be as simple as sharing a pizza with friends or chilling as you listen to your favourite music playing in the background. Just ensure that whatever you have planned, doesn’t impact on your health or sleep-time in a negative way!

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Set Aside a Dedicated Study Space

Get rid of the clutter and set up a neat, organised space in which to study. It is important to be able to lay your hands on your notes and textbooks required at a moment’s notice. Nothing is going to impact greater on your studies than being organised.

So, don’t delay! Get to it!

Arrange all you Geography textbooks, notes and assignments in a neat pile and pack away the Physics paraphernalia as soon as you’re done with them.

Having a neat and organised study space, whilst helping to create order and calm, is also a reflection of your state of mind. So, stay calm, breathe, take a moment to sort out the wheat from the chaff and go into your exam preparation with confidence.

Search Online for Helpful Articles

The Internet is a great resource, if it is used judiciously. Find helpful articles, definitions and explanations of terms and concepts encountered in your course of study.

Remember, however, to stick to trusted resources to avoid sites which spread misinformation or unsubstantiated facts. Academic sites are a wonderful place to find subject-specific information. You may also encounter some good podcasts and e-books which are helpful. Make sure to check out their reviews before diving in.

Effectively Use Visual Aids

Poring over pages of notes can be pretty boring and demotivating! Ask any student! However, it has been said that a picture paints a thousand words. Also, the mind remembers a snapshot of a scene far more vividly than words can describe it!

So, pull these two ideas together and create colourful graphics that can help you remember key elements of a topic! Set out a topic on a single sheet of paper and use colours to make certain information pop out at you! The visual impact can be quite striking and long-lasting!

View Some YouTube Videos

watching videos on Youtube
Watching Youtube videos about your class topics makes studying more engaging. (Source: Unsplash)

While some may view this activity as counter-productive, there are many different ways to study. However, there a numerous short video clips which may pertain to your subject of study, which may be very useful to you!

The other benefit is that you would be reviewing your study material in a different format, which will add a bit of spice to your revision programme.

Bid Your Cellphone Goodbye

Want to hear one of the greatest study tips for exams? Hide away your cell-phone. Yes, from yourself! Stick it in a drawer! That’s extreme, you say! The point is that you are actively engaged in studying for an exam! You will be distracted very time that screen lights up and, over your period of study, lose many hours. That’s not what you’re aiming for!

Take a break from your cell-phone and score big in your exams!

Eat Healthy Foods

Want to boost your memory skills, focus and your energy levels? Look no further than your diet. Make sure that your move away from your reliance on two-minute noodles and pizza and load up real health-wise fare. The brain needs to be fuelled by foods that are high in nutritional value to be able to sustain your focus and endurance!

Don’t forget the snacks, the nibbles! Nuts, seed, berries and yoghurt are great fillers and healthy, to boot! Stock up on these and remain on track!

dorm room meals
Instead of eating junk food again, consider eating healthy snacks that hone concentration and memory skills. (Source: Unsplash)

Drink Enough Water

Many a young student’s diet is way off beam. Sugary Cokes and energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull are the order of the day! Students believe that these drinks will give them the boost they need to pull an all-nighter studying. Nothing could be further from the truth. A crash is inevitable!

Fill yourself up with a healthy helping of plain, unadulterated water to keep your brain fully hydrated, enabling neurological functions to continue optimally!

Get Sufficient Sleep

To stay on top of your game, get enough sleep. Not only is this a necessary break from hours spent poring over notes, but it is during this time that the brain gets the opportunity to file the information, that you’ve taken in, in an orderly fashion, making retrieval easier! This is key!

Your goal should be to get between 6 and 7 hours of sleep per night. This will ensure a good night’s rest and you will enjoy uninterrupted REM sleep, which is necessary for memory.

There it is, folks: 15 awesome study tricks and tips to put you in the pound seat. Give them a shot today and ace your exams!

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Trevor

Career teacher turned writer. Passionate about family, running, and the great outdoors.