Planning is crucial to ensuring that you complete everything you need to do before the deadline. Even if you’ve only got a rough idea of what needs to be done, you will feel more at ease and be able to relax when you’re following a plan.
It’s a great feeling when you realise you’re on track and can do a little Netflix and chill at the end of the day because you’ve made a plan, followed it, and done what needs to be done. Many of us know the end goal (knowing everything we need to know for the exam), but few actually make a plan of how to get there.
The first thing you need to know about is a technique called spaced repetition, which is proven to be the most effective way to get the information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory where you can use it in the exam. When you know this technique, you’ll then be able to make an effective plan, and be exam-ready in no time!
Here’s how it works:
- Choose the subject and topic that you want to study. As an example, for Chemistry it might be the chemical reactions that can make an alcohol.
- Spend some time getting to know the information on day one, and do as much as you need to learn that particular thing.
- On day two, try to work using no notes, and write down as much as you can remember, using key words and sentences from what you need to learn. Then use your notes to fill in the rest of the information, and stop when you think you’ve remembered it all.
- Take a break from this topic on day three. Study something else. You’re giving your mind a chance to work through what you’ve studied and send it into the long term memory.
- On day four, repeat step number 2 – work as much as you can without using your notes to test how much you can remember, then work to the point where you think you’ve mastered it.
- Take another day’s break on day five, and come back to it later. You may even take a week off this particular subject, and come back to it a few days before the exam, to test your long term recall. Once you can remember it all, on the bus, or when you’re having ice cream with your friends, you’ve nailed it!
Now you know what to do, the next step is make a plan, and stay committed to that plan.
When making a plan, here’s what to do:
Note down all of your deadlines, and the things you must do like going to a family dinner or rugby training.
Then, working backwards from the deadlines, set times in which you’ll use the method above for each topic that you need to study. Space out your sessions for each topic, and you’ll find that you end up with multiple, shorter sessions each day. That’s great! Believe it or not, three-hour study sessions really aren’t that effective! Don’t forget to add socialising, exercise, and time for your hobbies – these are also important!
Now that you’ve made a plan, stick to it! If you’ve planned properly, then you’ll have time for studying, relaxing, socialising, and other activities, so everything should be covered!
Jack Goldingham Newsom is the founder of Thynke, and helps students exceed what they thought possible. If you’re looking for a great guide to help you achieve well in your exams this year, then check out the Thynke Guide to Studying at www.thynkehub.com/studying
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