It’s that time of year. It’s time to settle into a solid routine of learning and studying to ensure your success at the end of the year. It is what you do every day that counts.
Having worked with students worldwide, I see far more similarities between successful students than I see differences. Students tend to fall into four categories:
Avoidance: You know you are in this category when you get lost in the world of YouTube or Tik-Tok when you know you have work to do. Maybe you find yourself cooking, cleaning, tidying your room and going for a run rather than study.
Anxious: This is when your tummy feels sick each time you think about study or exams. You are worried about failing, concerned about not meeting expectations and get defensive when others try to help or support your learning.
Aware but don’t care: Here is when you know what you have to achieve and put your study off until tomorrow. Maybe you have enough credits or will not get credits for an assignment, so you think, why bother?
Achiever: If you are in this category, you balance life and study and have a goal and a plan to achieve success. You feel like you are learning, growing and improving each week. You are happy, have energy and are getting the grades you desire. Most importantly, you know which behaviours are assisting you to be successful and repeat these steps repeatedly.
Can you pinpoint which category you spend much of your time in? Is there a gap between where you are and where you would like to be? I call this the learning gap. It is likely that no one has taught you how to study.
Studying is different from doing homework. Homework is completing the assignments teachers have set, following their guidelines and handing it in for marking and feedback. Studying is learning the information you DON’T know to pass a test or exam. These are very different processes. Passing an exam has very little to do with intelligence and is more about strategy and technique.
Here are 50 Study Smart Tips.
Memory & Recall
1. Study for 20 minutes and take a 5-minute break
2. During a study break, always leave your study room for a short break
3. Go over your most important information first
4. Revise your key information at the end of a study cycle
5. Summarise your notes from class each day and read the following day
6. Review your notes one day after learning them, then one week, one month and every six months
7. Break your content into small manageable chunks
8. Learn only 3 or 4 pieces of information at a time
9. Make important information stand out
10. Makeup mnemonics to remember, e.g., ROY G BIV (the order of the rainbow colours)
11. Create real-life examples
12. Link what you are learning to the information you already know