Being able to prepare for exams is crucial for any student’s success. As a postgrad, you’ve already experienced the pressures associated with exam season, but the reality is you will be expected to dedicate more time to independent study than ever before.
To help you make the most of your revision sessions, we’ve put together seven top tips to help you focus and boost your productivity.
Organise your study time
Experiment with different revision techniques to see what works for you. Will you study for the same amount of time each day? How will you fit your exam preparation around other commitments like part-time work? These are all things to consider as you map out your study plans.
For some people, having a set routine each day could be easier. But, if you’d rather have shorter study sessions on the weekends don’t fret. It’s all about how much revision you’re able to do overall.
You might find that you prefer certain tasks at specific times in the day. For instance, you could block out mornings to attempt exam-style questions and read around your subject at night.
In the final days leading up to your exam, gradually cut down on the amount of revision you’re doing to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Keep it interesting
Changing the location in which you study can help you retain information so mix it up where possible. Although the pandemic has made it harder to study in public places like libraries and coffee shops, moving between your kitchen and living room could make a subtle difference. You might even try studying in the park, although the weather could affect your plans.
Another way to beat the monotony of revision is to vary your study techniques. Organise a virtual or socially distanced revision group with your peers to debate a particular issue or topic. If you’re able to substantiate your arguments, this bodes well for your exams.
Summarise your notes
In an ideal scenario, you will review everything that could come up in the exam and make sure you understand the content in detail before you start taking notes. But copying out the entire textbook isn’t the most effective revision technique. Be smart with what you choose to write down, highlighting key theories and dates.
Try to keep your handwriting as clear as possible so you can easily refer to your notes. Bullet points, pie charts and acronyms are all great ways to keep notes neat and succinct. You could even download a free note-taking app that allows you to type on your tablet or phone, such as Evernote or Microsoft OneNote.
Make yourself the priority
It’s important to maintain a balance between studying and socialising, but in the lead-up to exam season, you might have to forsake the odd social event so that you can stick to your revision schedule.
If you prefer to study solo because you’re easily distracted, don’t be afraid to tell your friends that. You can always see your peers out of study hours for a group exercise session to help alleviate stress and boost your energy levels.
Tune in and focus
Music can activate the reward system in your brain which can improve your mood and motivation . Stick to instrumental music and keep the volume down to avoid winding up distracted.
When tackling exam-style questions turn your music off to simulate how you’ll be assessed on the day of the exam.
In the months leading up to your exams, try to curb the amount of time you spend scrolling through social media.
It’s a small sacrifice to make in the grand scheme of things. Social media apps will always be around once you’ve finished your exams, and you’ll be able to use them guilt-free once you’ve crossed the finish line.
If you can’t cut out these apps completely, install time limits on your phone or restrict social media use to weekends.
Check the practicalities of your exam before
You might be assessed online, so get to grips with the technology and make sure you have a quiet place in the house to complete your exams. Check your WiFi connection before and let your housemates know that you’re unavailable for a few hours. Switch off your phone and declutter your desk to set the scene.
Once the exam is finished, avoid discussing answers with your peers. Instead, focus on preparing for the next exam.