Being able to prepare for an exam efficiently is a highly underrated skill. Considering how pervasive tests and assessments are in our life, first, in our childhood, then, in our adult lives, acquiring this skill could make an impressive change on the quality of our lives and our academic performance.
To underline how crucial efficient learning is, take a look back at your high school years or first year in college. The things you studied became more complex and much vaster in volume. Studying for most of your waking life didn’t seem like an option, so you probably started skipping on certain topics, prioritizing specific classes, or studying everything but not very diligently.
In this article, we’ve compiled a set of tips that will help you learn much more efficiently, with no detriment to the volume of the material you learn, so that you also maintain a healthy “work-to-life” balance. Let’s take a look, shall we?
1. Experiment with various mediaDifferent forms of media formats stimulate different parts of the brain, which makes a “multimedia” approach to learning a specific topic easier. For instance, you need to learn about the philosophy of Ancient Greece. Of course, you need to read whatever’s provided in your course book, but that doesn’t mean you need to limit the input to your course support only.
To help your brain conceptualize all that information, you need to engage with other types of media like podcasts, video lectures, infographics, and so forth.
We live in an age with an astonishing diversity and access to information, we just need to look for it.
2. Avoid multitasking at all costsThere is now a large body of research that suggests multitasking is more of an obstacle to productivity than a way to optimize your performance, especially when it comes to learning.
In order to study efficiently, you need to focus on a single task at a time. Here are a few things that will help you focus on studying:
- Put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode or simply disable all notifications altogether
- Use an app that will block specific sites that tend to distract you
- Close all the browser tabs that have nothing to do with the topic of your study.
3. Have a study planOne of the essential components of a successfully fulfilled project is an outline of the things that need to be accomplished. Any project needs a detailed plan. The lack of a plan can lead to an uneven time distribution across tasks, which may impact your overall academic performance.
To properly approach learning large amounts of information use these questions to create a suitable study plan:
- How many hours a week/day can I dedicate to studying?
- What are the topics that you need assistance or consultation with?
- When are my written assessments/reports due?
- What are my significant distractors and how do I plan on overcoming them?
4. Don’t underestimate sleepStudying has a lot to do with high-quality sleep. You should consider going on a special sleep regimen at least a few days before an important exam, ideally a week ahead. Research suggests that sleep can enhance your ability to learn and store information.
Sleeping at least eight hours every night will enhance your focus and mental clarity, which are indispensable assets to absorbing and handling complex information.
5. Consider meditationMeditation and mindfulness practices are known to considerably improve cognitive function, which, in effect, can accelerate the rate at which your brain can learn information.
There is a large body of research suggesting that a regular meditation practice can assist students with studying. The research design featured two groups of students, one comprised of those who meditated before a test, the other of those who haven’t. The group of pupils that meditated before the test were able to perform considerably better.
6. Rewarding yourself is very importantResearch suggests that thinking about the particular reward you’ll award yourself with once you’re finished doing something is very stimulating. By no means does it have to be something pompous. On the contrary, some mundane, simple rewards will help you get through your studying schedule and will make the whole process more pleasant.
For instance, if you live in a suitable area — go for a short walk. Here are a few examples of things you can reward yourself with:
- Having some fruit during your break
- Do some yoga or stretching
- Take a power nap
- Take a hot shower.
7. Declutter your workspaceThere are multiple reasons why you should look into cleaning your work/study space. The central one is that random things distract us from whatever we’re doing. Along with that, there’s the simple pleasure in seeing your room clean, which will help you stay inspired.
8. Experiment with cutting-edge technologyHumanity is now very passionate about focus. Given how distractive everything is, from television to mobile apps, we’ve forgotten how to concentrate properly, and it’s not your fault. Luckily there are now many apps that use various technologies that can help you focus better.
One of them is brain.fm, it’s a site that provides its customers with music that has special sonic waves incorporated, which are proven to increase one’s focus and overall input and output. Another popular tool is Focusmate, a tool that has coined the term “digital accountability.” It helps its users collaborate efficiently by working together in 50-minute sessions.
Also Read: Tips for Moms to Write Faster in CollegeAnother option would be simply delegating some of the less important tasks to someone else. Services like Grab My Essay, Studicus, WoWGrade and Best Essay Education are explicitly designed for students that need to free up a bit of time when under a lot of pressure in school.
9. Ever heard of the Feynman Method?The author of this method was a doctor, who developed this method in order to learn copious amounts of information in a shorter amount of time. Here’s how it works:
- Write the name of the concept you’re trying to learn more about.
- Write down everything you know about it in plain English or other languages of choice.
- Read your course book and then return to Step 2.
- Practice until confident. Abstain from using complicated language.
10. Try becoming the teacherA different way of approaching the Feynman method is to try to explain a specific concept or even to somebody in your own words. You can try doing this with a study partner or anyone willing to listen for that matter.
When you convert your knowledge to spoken word, you’ll get a better understanding of the blanks that you have in a certain topic. This, in effect, will allow you to have a more holistic approach to learning and study more thoroughly.
ConclusionPreparing for your exams isn’t really that complicated when you know how to do it. Apply at least a few of the tips to your preparation process, and you’re going to be ready in no time.
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