In the education systems of most countries, the exam is that moment when our learning turns into an all-or-nothing task.
Days or even weeks of class attendance and self-study can fail if we fail to complete the tests that are given to us for the exams. This is why a good mastery of the study methods is a very important thing. by making the most of our knowledge and skills.
Face tough exams
Spain is a country with a serious problem in its education system; in primary and secondary schools, they fail to teach students effective study methods, which should be essential in the learning process. In my freshman year in college I just memorized, a task that bothered me a lot, so I started to look for other methods to study facing exams.
As much as I had mastered these new methodologies (since there is not a single infallible one) my grades have improved a lot; in most subjects, I passed more than three points (in exams with a maximum score of 10). The truth is, I doubt I would have achieved such good grades without these study skills; University is difficult and at that time I had to understand and assimilate a lot of information. It was clear that the study methods were working for me, and I think they can also be useful for anyone who needs to take exams. That’s why I decided to share them.
The best techniques and study methods
The advice that I will explain to you will be useful for any subject: exams for exams, English, etc. However, these study methods are not the panacea for vagrancy: Effort and persistence are the basis of success!
Thinking about the image you have 2 to 3 hours of study before it is, say, a little … stimulating. But there is a way to make it less heavy:
Take a break every 50-60 minutes and do whatever activity you like for 10 minutes: Watching TV, reading, exercising, etc. It is a matter of knowing that the effort will not be superhuman, on the contrary; it is about combining the effort of study with enjoyable or leisure activities, so that we subconsciously associate study with something positive and bearable.
2. Out of distractions!
Are you the classic student in class looking at Facebook every minute or jotting down in the notebook? Don’t worry, there are a lot of them. These are the same people who study 1 hour out of 4.
Indeed, it takes almost 10 minutes to reach a state of concentration. At this point, if actively or passively this process of concentration is interrupted, you will have to restart the process.
And what can we do to avoid being distracted? Avoid social networks, hide your mobile or turn it off, stay away from the TV, Etc. It’s the little details that, while seemingly insignificant, matter. This method of study can be summed up as follows: when it is your turn to rest, rest and do not complicate your life, but when it is time to study, do not devote yourself to anything else.
3. Music to focus
We will agree that playing heavy metal or electronic songs to study works for very few people … but despite the popular belief that when you study you don’t need to listen to music, there are certain melodies and sounds that can help you enter a state of relaxation. You can try, for example, pieces of music to meditate on.
Other tips for studying music:
- Avoid putting on the typical catchy song, Or the one you really like.
- Choose a playlist of at least 50 minutesSo, you won’t find yourself needing to search for songs after some time.
- The radio does not work. Presenters’ voices can become irritating during study.
4. Study ahead
In the race, I never studied the day before the exam, nor on the same day. Nor for the most important exams like the finals. The key is to study months in advance, a little bit every day. If you study for an exam you have in two months for an hour or two a day, you are guaranteed to pass.
The information will be structured in your mind in the long run, It will keep for a long time and you can use it when you need it. If you study in a hurry the day before, or two or three days before, you may be successful, but the knowledge will not be fixed well and you will eventually forget it. Things will get difficult for you in the future, when teachers take it for granted that you remember the content of previous lessons.
5. Mind maps
A mind map is a schematic image used to represent words, Ideas or concepts linked around a central idea. Mind maps are a great way to memorize information. I recommand it!
Although it may not seem like it, exercise can be a part of the study methods. According to a study by the University of Illinois, doing 20-30 minutes of exercise before an exam improves concentration. Several times, before an exam, I went to the gym to de-stress, in the end I had studied well in advance and I could afford the luxury (as a reward).
From my point of view, it is a big mistake to think that on the day of the exam or the day before, you have to spend it studying until the last minute. We need to give ourselves room to rest and train our muscles to be in the best physical condition possible before undergoing the pressure of an exam. We are human!
7. Change place of study
If you move to a different place where you study, you will improve your concentration and be able to keep more data.. Indeed, studying in one place, actively or passively, ends up irritating us. Introducing new variables into the study breaks this routine and gives us a balloon of oxygen to study.
A good option would be to move your home and various public libraries.
8. Eat well and be healthy
Hunger will make you helpless and distracted. I recommend that you eat something before studying, especially almonds (as they contain phenylalaline, which stimulates neurons) and beets (uridine monophosphate helps improve cognitive abilities).
9. Keep a positive mind!
A positive mindset is very helpful in getting good grades. Many classmates, by placing too much importance on results, were too preoccupied with what they were doing and experienced ramps of anxiety before exams, which conditions them and keeps them distracted (the self-fulfilling prophecy) . This is why it is important to stay calm and have a positive attitude.
Plus, being pessimistic about the results we’re getting will give us an excuse to stop struggling. This is a phenomenon similar to what is called learned helplessness.
10. Do exam exercises
Mimicking an exam using a mockup is often more helpful than reading or underlining. You re-think any logical questions (which may match those of the actual exam) and help regulate previous anxiety, as the “real” exam will be just one of many.
In addition, performing exam exercises is one of the most useful study methods, as it helps you discover the gaps and weaknesses in your knowledge.