By Gaby Ndongo (4 mins read)
This article was updated on Monday, 20th May 2019, from the last version termed HOW TO Study For Exams.
You’ve made it this far; qualified for exams. After months of hard work and attending lecture upon lecture, completing one reading or assignment only to start with another and writing notes for those semester tests that often made it impossible for a night out.
Here are ten tips to make sure that your exam results reflect all that work.
1. Set goals
Identify and set goals for the exam period. They can be tailored in ways that suit your medium and long-term academic goals and consequently your career plan.
For example, if you want to be accepted for an honour’s degree in the Humanities Faculty at UJ to pave a career as an academic, you must achieve an average score of 65% in your undergraduate majors.
Keep in mind that examination results contribute a significant amount towards your semester marks and to your academic record.
Despite the work experience you may have after completing your qualification, your academic record speaks about the type of person you are to potential employers. It shows a level of commitment.
2. Prioritise your time
Cut out activities that are wasting the time you could be using to study. This may be easier said than done, but it will be worth it.
You could start by postponing appointments for after the exams, allocating certain tasks to others and informing every client that your entrepreneurial affairs are on hold for the time being.
3. Remember the essentials: sleep, drinking liquid, exercising and mental wellbeing
You are not a machine! So, don’t treat your body like it’s made from iron. Remember the essential elements to a balanced lifestyle even when you’re preparing to write your exams.
Firstly, get enough sleep to allow for you mind and body to function well the following day.
Secondly, make sure you keep hydrated by drinking enough liquids. Furthermore, try to keep active by exercising for a couple of minutes a day.
If you are a religious person, seek the comfort of your supreme being. Lastly, you need to give yourself some well-deserved time-off for at least one full day a week. This will help you to recharge and prevent you from burning out.
4. Obtain and break down the workload
Before you begin to study, it is advisable to ensure that you have all the prescribed readings, slides, weekly assignments, etc.
The trick behind having all the content at hand is to design a plan of what needs to be studied, revised or simply scanned through.
This plan will be a result of the breaking down of the work into themes, lectures, chapters, etc. Basically, how the information is categorised in your respective module.
In the Global Communication 3B module at UJ, for instance, the work is divided in accordance to the lectures; each of them addressing one theme.
5. Use the outcomes
Every module has a major focus or primary lesson to be learnt, but within this major lesson are sub-lessons. These are found in the individual lectures or chapters making up the module.
Go through the study guide and identify them to have a navigation of the prescribed destination.
Once it is done, you’ll discover that there are areas of focus requiring more of your attention and others that simply need a quick read for a broad perspective of the concepts or procedures.
6. Have a study schedule
You’ve obtained all the content, broken it down into their categories and used the outcomes to make a study schedule based on the available time left until the first paper. Now divide the work further according to this schedule.
Remember that studying a bit every day is better than leaving all the work until the day before the exam.
Working under pressure or pulling an all nighter can leave the brain and the body drained. It is better to study and understand the content in record time compared to cramming all the work in a few hours.
7. 25 minutes study, 5 minutes break
An ideal way is to study and revise daily in intervals of 25 minutes with 5 minutes breaks, according to the tertiary education guide, GRAD.
In doing so, you allow your brain to pause for a while and then regain the energy needed for absorbing and revising the information at hand.
After four to five consecutive sessions, you need to stand up, take a walk and then return to the game with a rejuvenated mind that is ready to continue.
8. Make use of your course’s teaching staff
Consult the tutors and lectures for clarity on anything you didn’t understand during the semester.
Remember that they are paid to ensure you pass with the highest marks that you can obtain.
But they can only do so if you consult. So, you should approach them for assistance on any of the course work that is troubling you.
9. Consider being part of a study group
Join a study group for focus, assistance and continuous motivation. This could be an online group. Your classmates are likely to be the right people.
As virtual communities become more convenient, one can also consider being a part of a WhatsApp group that has accounting students discussing material dealt with in class.
10. Distance yourself from your phone and social media
Put your phone in a drawer or on the other side of the room when studying to avoid being distracted by social media or messages from your friends.
The best way to avoid distractions is by placing your phone on airplane mode or switching on the phones Do Not Disturb mode (DND).
Only check it after your allocated study time or after all your work has been completed. TOJ
Writing by Gaby Ndongo; Editing by Amber Richardson and Ntozanele Libimbi.
Feature image: Study.
Image courtesy to Pexels.