Studying For Exams

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The two main goals for preparing for exams are:

Learn the Content -> Practice the Skills

This can be done by:

  • Organising Information

Make summaries and study notes

  • Move info into Long Term Memory

Read through and review the study notes or textbook and test yourself on them

  • Practise the skills of the subject

Do as many different question types or examples as possible and check answers

Avoid Distractions

  • Work in 20-30 min blocks of time on schoolwork
  • Strict rule – NO distractions allowed in the study block
  • At end of 20-30 min, have a short break

Homework time can also be a good time to disconnect the modem or wireless so there is no internet operating in the home. This can prevent distractions like checking Facebook or msn pop-ups. Students should have a dedicated work space that is away from distractions (eg high traffic areas, TV, computer games, etc). Before bed they should avoid any bright lights 1 hour before bed (eg phones, computers, TV). This should be a time for reading.

Some students also tape 2 AA batteries to their pen to strengthen their writing hand and improve their legibility. They then take the batteries off before a test/exam.

Have a Plan

1. Have a set time allocated each day to do work (like a study timetable) 2. Make a plan each afternoon before starting 3. Plan to complete a certain number of 20-30min blocks each night and cross off when completed

Different Ways to Study

There are lots of ways to study. The list here shows some that work with different students:

  • Make a list of key points of part of a topic
  • 3Rs – Read, Recite, Recheck (look, cover, write, check)
  • Type what you remember without looking at your notes
  • Organise notes using colour, highlighting and structure
  • Make up rhymes or songs to help you remember
  • Use mind maps, sketches, flowcharts and diagrams
  • Make recordings of the information you need to remember
  • Have a parent or friend test you
  • Put up formulas or rules around the house
  • Speak out loud the information you’ve read to check recall
  • Write out lists of questions as you read and then answer them
  • Write out what you remember in your own words
  • Form discussion or study groups
  • Make or use flashcards
  • Teach what you have learnt to someone else
  • Spend time working out what it is you do NOT know yet
  • Do as many questions as possible under exam conditions
  • Buy study guides or extra textbooks to try other questions
  • Do any chapter reviews or summary questions
  • Correct all of your work and re-do the ones you got wrong
  • Re-do past topic tests
  • Do questions and submit to your teacher for marking
  • Ask your teacher for extra worksheets for revision
  • Keep a list of areas you need to revise further
  • Practise writing and doing tests under exam conditions
  • Keep a list of all the things you need to ask your teacher about
  • Be conscientious about chasing up things with your teacher that you don’t understand

Remember too that a healthy student is a productive student. Students need to eat well, get plenty of sleep and regular exercise. Some students find it useful to go to a gym class or swim laps with friends once/week.