If you are a student studying for N-level, O-level, A-level or any major exams, you’ll know this feeling You’ve got a test tomorrow, and all your classmates seem to be getting an “A” while you are scratching your head over what is going on in class. If this has happened once or twice, no big deal. But if it happens every other week and you often feel lost and clueless, then it is time for some studying hacks.
1. Join a Study Group
A study group can be an excellent way to stay motivated and accountable, and to get honest, constructive feedback on your work. You can find a group of people you know (friends, family members) or look for a virtual study buddy studying the same course. If you don’t already know, there are sites for online group discussions and focus groups. You can use a video desktop or chrome screen recorder such as veed, vimeo or screencastify to record the session. Remember, you are not alone.
2. Do a Brain Dump
One of the best things you can do is a brain dump. What is a brain dump? It is just writing down everything that comes to mind, without judging or editing it.
This is an incredibly useful tool for students in any subject, but especially for students who have trouble getting started on their assignments. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas, write down everything that comes to mind about the topic—do not worry about spelling or grammar; just let your thoughts flow freely onto paper. Once you finish writing all your ideas, go back over them and see if any connections between them could help get your essay or project started.
3. Skim Your Notes Before Class
Skimming through your notes before class is an important study hack that can help you learn faster and better.
The best way to read a material, especially content-heavy, is not by reading it front to back, but in sections. Skimming through the book can help you understand what is going on in each chapter, making it easier for you to pay attention during lectures and do well in exams.
4. Take Lots of Notes
Note-taking is an important skill for any student, an effective way to stay engaged during classes and facilitate the filtration of important information. It is especially effective in organising heavily processed information into a condensed, personalised way of learning. Note-taking can take various forms – mind-mapping, highlighting, the charting method and many more.
The cognitive effort involved in note-taking trains your mind to be selective. Through this process, it allows you to sieve through and analyse which information is important. You never know, your notes might save a sinking boat!
5. Create Your Own Flashcards for Review
Flashcards are a helpful study tool when you need to memorise information. It is especially helpful when it comes to revisions for tests, as it allows you to have all the necessary information before you attempt your nerve-wrecking test.
- Use a note-taking app to create your own flash cards. A great strategy is to use the “flashcard” functionality of Evernote, which allows you to create and save cards in all sorts of formats. You can also use Quizlet, another web-based study aid that lets you choose from hundreds of different card types and makes it easy for students to share their collections.
- Make sure your flashcards are in the right format. For your flashcards to be effective, they need to be easy enough for you (or anyone else) to skim quickly without being distracted. If possible, try printing them out so that everything will be visible on one page.
- Keep everything on hand, so there are no excuses for not being able to study whenever inspiration strikes. This website has plenty of tips about the best way to store information to make sure those moments when inspiration strikes don’t go wasted when trying something new like this method does.”
6. Use Mnemonics to Help You Remember Certain Things
Mnemonics is a system for remembering lists or information. Basically, instead of cramming boring facts into your mind, you can remember information with mnemonics by associating it with something more unique to yourself to make the information easier to recall. Articulating the mnemonics you have created will facilitate you in memorising the information. In addition to this, you can utilise a webcam recorder to record your video and then let it repeat, like a kind of infinite loop, so that you can use the time to memorise longer sequences.
There are many types of mnemonic variations, some of which includes:
- Acronyms – Acronyms are a type of mnemonic device that uses the first letter of each word to form a new word or phrase (for example, HOMES mnemonic that stands for the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior)
- Rhymes – Rhymes are one of the most common types of mnemonic devices. The rhyme scheme is often used by poets and songwriters as a tool for writing poetry. By using this method, poets are able to create complex words and phrases with less effort than if they were not using a rhyming structure. (for instance, “Every Good Boy Does Fine” is used to remember the notes on the treble clef),
- Stories – Stories can help you remember information in a certain order of narration (like “Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain”)
Study hacks are fun, but they cannot replace good old-fashioned hard work. If you are serious about your education and want to excel in school, you will need to commit the time and effort to internalise the curriculum. Tricks are nothing without your foundational bricks.