We’ve all been there, studying endlessly and still feeling unprepared and stressed ahead of an exam. It’s not always easy but here are the top 10 hacks you need if you have a big exam coming up!
Hack 1# Chunking
Chunking is a learning technique for subjects with a lot of bulky information. Chunking essentially means taking small bits of information and grouping them together. It is said to be highly effective with improving your memory whilst revising. For example, if you have to learn a mobile phone number, grouping the numbers together (e.g 0-800) is more effective in memory than keeping them individual (e.g. 0-8-0-0).
Hack 2# Break up long study sessions
Many people feel like studying for 10 hours straight is productive, but often it is actually the complete opposite! You need to think about the task at hand. If it is a small task, e.g. revising one chapter, have short breaks every hour. However, if you are sitting a mock exam and it takes 2-3 hours, take a half an hour break every few hours. Plan your breaks as well, factor in going for a walk or getting lunch during this time, as otherwise, it won’t set you up well for the next study session!
Hack 3# Get creative with your notes
Start to enjoy writing notes! Make them aesthetically pleasing so you actually enjoy looking at them, but find the balance! Don’t waste time whilst making them pretty, but invest time into making them easy on the eye! You can do this by colour co-ordinating different topics, or taking extra time with diagrams if they’re genuinely useful. Treat yourself to some new highlighters or pens to make writing notes that little bit more engaging. Writing pages and pages of paragraphs in black ink will be boring to read, and it will make revision feel even more tedious than it needs to be!
Hack 4# Don’t neglect your sleep schedule
Such a classic student move, studying way into the early hours of the morning, then waking up at midday… you can do better! Research suggested that sleep ‘prioritises memories that we care about’ which is particularly useful during the study-season! Neurology professor Clifford B. Saper found it is way more effective to wake up an hour earlier than to stay up an hour later when revising! Even if you aren’t a morning person, the effects of a healthy sleep schedule are undeniable.
Hack 5# Find out what kind of learner you are
Establishing what kind of learner you are is so important in finding revision techniques that actually suit you best! You could spend hours and hours reading a book, but if you’re an auditory learner, you could’ve spent less time, learning even more!
Hack 6# Use your senses
Your brain is an incredible tool. Research has shown that incorporating your senses into revision can improve memory and memory is essentially the key to revision! Whether that is associating a perfume you’re wearing with a topic, or a chewing gum flavour with an equation you always forget, this could be useful! Your brain and senses can work together to try and spark memories. Just like a smell reminding you of a loved one, or a taste reminding you of a holiday!
Hack 7# Test yourself before the big day
Doing mock exams or getting people you live with to test you puts you in exam mode. Some people struggle when put on the spot but this will truly test you! It is even better if someone who hasn’t got a clue on the topic tests you, as they will only take the answer as correct, and nothing short of it!
Hack 8# Reward yourself
Studying can feel endless and often deflating. Don’t neglect yourself! Reward yourself for your hardwork! This could be smaller rewards such as a movie night at the end of the week, or a big reward like a weekend away once the academic year has ended. Your hardwork doesn’t go unnoticed by teachers or family so make sure you recognise it for yourself!
Hack 9# Get creative with revision methods
Finding ways to almost unconsciously revise will save you this exam season! Whether your studying for Philosophy and listen to philosophical podcasts or record yourself reading your flashcards and listen to them when you’re out for a walk… get creative! This will make you feel almost like you are effortlessly revising!
Hack 10# Eat a banana on exam day
I think every Mum ever has said to eat a banana on exam day morning, but there is some truth to the banana advice! Studies show that eating a banana can help to improve exam scores whilst also containing vitamin B6 which promotes the production of serotonin, dopamine ad norepinephrine to aid with keeping you focused and concentrated!