Studying for a test can be hard, especially if you’re distracted. Focusing on studying will make it easier, which means you’ll finish sooner. The key is to eliminate distractions and set yourself up in an ideal studying environment.
Sometimes, the hardest part of anything is simply starting.
So let’s start…
- Get Motivated- If you do your revision well and prepare for the exam, you will do fine. Get to a point with your revision so you can enjoy the exam when it happens. Do not think that the exam is a big deal, think of it as something to challenge your learning. Set a goal for yourself, even if it’s a bit unrealistic. Push yourself to do better than what you think you can do, and who knows, maybe you’ll surprise yourself.
- Set study goals–
First things first; start with the basics and set your study goals. Ask yourself why you are here, possibly (like me) having travelled across the world for this opportunity. Having fun is certainly one answer, but not the primary one. Knowing your objectives completes half the job.
- Make a study timetable- Once you know what you want, the next step is to prepare a weekly study timetable. Set a routine for everything. Your timetable could include the time you should go to bed, the time you should have your meals, and – most importantly – the time you should spend on studies. There is no hard and fast rule and you should of course allow some flexibility depending on how things go. But establishing a routine is essential, and do try to stick to your study timetable as best as you can.
- Learn to say no- Now, I am not asking you to give up all your social activities, but you have to take some bold steps. If you dine out daily, it is better to limit this to one day per week, which will help you save some money as well. If you go to the cinema every week, try to cut down to once a fortnight. If someone is asking you to accompany them to hang out at the mall when you know you should be studying, tell them you’re busy – and let them know when would be a better time. In short: learn to say no when you know you really should.
- Find a suitable studying environment- Your bedroom or classroom isn’t always the best possible place. Find a nice, quiet place with a large, comfortable chair, like your sitting room, preferably without a television, a computer or a cell phone within your reach. Don’t over think about social media and try staying away from social media. The library is usually a nice place to study because it’s quiet
- Collect revision materials before you begin studying- Do not plan to look for pens, highlighters, rulers, etc, in the middle of studying. It can be really distracting at times, so prepare everything you think you need.. No energy drinks or coffee, because sooner or later, you will crash out. Fruit, and water are good, because they are simple and effective at releasing carbohydrates.
- Take short breaks- After 45 minutes of studying, take a 10 minute break and do something different. Try to get back to your studying after the break; the break shouldn’t be longer than 20 minutes. Why take breaks? Your brain needs time to recharge after it processes a bunch of information. In some studies, taking a break and walking around improved memory recall and simple test scores in subjects.
- Sit down and study- You have everything you need in front of you and there’s nothing left to procrastinate with. It’s just you and the material. Well? What are you waiting for?
Use flashcards and notes to your advantage. Flash cards are helpful for some people, as they contain important information in very little space. Use them if you feel they are helpful for you. Lay them out sequentially, or order them according to a different scheme if you want to give them a little more meaning.
- Make use of mnemonic tools- “Mnemonic tools” is a fancy word for memorization. Make some information into a funny song, or put the information into an acronym (remember VIBGYOR?) to help you remember what you’re trying to remember. Ask yourself why you are studying, what will be the benefit of studying and write it down on a piece of paper. Every time you get distracted look at the paper and remind yourself why studying is important for you.
✔️Avoiding below Mistakes-
- Don’t panic! – When you panic, you make mistakes, so keep calm throughout. If you successfully planned your revision, you will have no need to panic when the exam comes. Take a deep breath, tell yourself “I can do this,” and calm down
- Minimize computer use- Especially the internet. You learn better when you write things out yourself. Also refrain from using your cell phone as you will be replying to texts every minute, which is very distracting.
Turn your internet off if you know you’ll be tempted. Turn your computer off or ask your friend to hold onto it. Basically, try to ensure that you’re not whiling away your time on the Internet when you’re supposed to be studying.
- Don’t listen to music unless it helps you study- Some people need music in order to help them study, but try not to give your brain anything else to focus on while you’re studying. One more distraction, even if it’s calming music, is another thing your brain has to process in addition to the information you’re trying to learn.
- Don’t off-topic- We all catch ourselves going off-topic from time to time. Sometimes it’s because the information we’re supposed to learn is boring; sometimes it’s because the information we don’t need to know is exciting. Whatever it is, wait until after you’ve studied to really dig deeper and explore different subjects.
Always ask yourself: How likely is it that this information will show up on my test? If you’re really focused, you can rank the information from the most likely to the least likely, giving the most likely material the majority of your time and the least likely the rest of it.
- Don’t get discouraged- Studying for a test can be daunting, especially in the beginning. Take things in manageable chunks and don’t worry about getting things perfect the first time around. Remember, you’re here to learn, not necessarily ace a test. Try to understand the “big picture” if you’re having trouble understanding the concept. This should make the details easier to understand.
What I do to stay focused is keep a diary with me. I have written all my study goals and priorities in it and when I have spare time (while waiting for the train or travelling and before going to bed) I take a thorough look at them. You could do the same, or even paste some posters on your room’s wall.
Follow these study tips and stay focused on your goals, and you should find you’re feeling more confident about your studies.
I hope it helps 🙂