Two weeks in a row – finally! 😉
This week was study week, because we have big scary exams next week to mark the end of the first tenth of our course (how?!). I’m one of those people who gets uber stressed about exams, and these ones have been the worst ones so far because I most certainly did not do enough work during the semester. As a result, I had a bit of a meltdown on Monday because of the sheer volume of stuff I had to learn. Moral of the story: keep on top of things! It wasn’t quite as bad as I had initially anticipated – it never usually is – but it was still tough. I’m absolutely useless if I try and study after about 6pm, so to get any semi-decent day of work in, I have to be up early. Usually, that’s no issue for me, because I prefer going to bed early and waking up early, but this week I was all over the place. Anyway, I’m feeling much happier now because I have a solid chunk of my revision behind me – I say revision, but a good 50% was learning new stuff… Even my boyfriend, who is Mr Chill when it comes to exams, messaged me yesterday in a bit of a flap, which made me even more nervous. Is it obvious I don’t test well? 😛
I went to an exam study tips seminar given by some of the older years a few weeks back and they gave us some really solid advice. Since I was behind, it didn’t really work, but I’ll definitely be putting what they told us into action next semester.
- Find what study works best for you. You may have already found this when you did your exams at the end of school, but people learn lots of different ways. I have to write everything out, colour code it and then read it out. My boyfriend can read things and retain them that way. Others learn by making up stories or drawing out a sequence of events. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you manage to get what you need into your noggin.
- Plan your time. There is no point in sitting down and deciding on a whim what you’re going to do, because there’s no structure if you do that. I used to find that when I studied without a plan, I would spend fifteen or twenty minutes on one subject, and then swap to another and do the same thing. Everything was very choppy-changey, and I really didn’t take in all that much. Sit down at your desk ten minutes before you’re going to start studying for the day, write down a timetable and stick to it!
- Make lists. Lists will become your best friend when you have a massive amount of material to cover. I have lists for each of my modules with the titles from each lecture, and each time I get to the end of one, I cross it off. Not only does this satisfy my need for organisation, it’s so satisfying.
- Colour code. This is a personal thing, but it works really well for me, so it’s worth a try. I have a different colour for each of my modules, and I associate information in each colour to that module. Initially, I write out my notes and highlight the important bits in the colour for that module. Then, I answer questions that I either find in a textbook or online, or that I make up myself, and highlight the bits that I’m unsure of. By the time I finish up, I know the answer fluently.
- Record yourself. Another personal one, and it does take a bit of getting used to! I read out my notes and recorded them to listen to when I was doing chores, and although isn’t the most efficient way of learning for me, it still gets some information into my brain when I have other, mindless things to do. I also record myself asking the questions, and then if I’m waiting for a bus or in the car somewhere, I play the questions and write the answers down to check when I get back to my notes.
- Routine, routine, routine. This is the one thing I relied on completely last year during my final exams, and it’s what I missed most this week. If you get yourself into a solid routine, it’s so much easier to keep up, and it means you really appreciate your breaks.
I hope some of these help you guys with your studies, and they’re all helped by studying as you go along – obviously! Fortunately for me, first year doesn’t count towards my final GPA, so my misjudgment won’t be too catastrophic!