Don’t Study Harder, Study Smarter

Don’t Study Harder, Study Smarter


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You don’t have to slave away studying all hours to pass your exams. Changing the way you study could be far more effective at ensuring that information sticks in your brain. Here are seven revision tricks that could be worth trying out.

Start revising early

Cramming the night before an exam is the worst thing you can do. You’ll only be able to take in a certain amount of information. It’s also likely to make you stressed, which in turn will prevent you from getting to sleep, affecting your performance the next day. If you want to make a real impact, start revising a month beforehand. You may only have to dedicate ten minutes to revision each day and you’re likely to absorb more information and keep it there.

Use images and diagrams

Sites like LearnerWolf can determine whether you are a visual learner. If so, it could be worth putting the notes aside and finding new ways to memorize information. Graphs and charts could be better for helping you to remember figures. Also, consider putting certain information in bubbles or in different color texts. Doodling a few pictures related to what you’re learning may also help you to absorb certain information.

Get sing-songy

Alternatively, you may be an auditory learner. In these cases, you may be more able to memorize information by the way it’s spoken. When revising alone, the best way to make use of this learning style is to turn information into song. This could be anything from a math equation to a quote from a novel. If you can’t memorize it musically, you could try speaking it out loud in a different accent as this might also help to get it stuck in your brain.

Make use of sticky notes

Another popular method of revising is to write information on sticky notes and plaster these notes around your room. As you go about your daily business, you’ll read these notes and they’ll become subliminally engrained into your brain. Try to put sticky notes in places that you visit daily such as on the lip of your laptop, on the door of your wardrobe, by light switches and on curtains. Focus on small chunks of information that are easy to absorb at a glance rather than long lists of bullet points or whole paragraphs.

Download revision notes online

While some people may prefer to create their own handwritten revision notes, others may find this note-writing process time-consuming and demotivating. Fortunately, there’s always the option to borrow other people’s revision notes from past students. Sites like GradeBuddy are great for this and have lots of different revision notes on various subjects. Make sure that you can clearly understand the information displayed, or you could be making it harder for yourself. It could even be beneficial to read multiple people’s revision notes so that you can borrow different people’s revision methods and pinpoint important information.

Try completing past exam papers

Nothing will prepare you more for the exam than a past paper. You’ll get to understand the general layout (e.g. is it question based or multiple choice? How long is each question?) and it might also give you hints of what’s likely to come up in the following exam (if a certain topic isn’t covered, there may be a greater likeliness of it coming up next time). You can find past exam papers online. Staff at your college campus may be able to help you locate past papers and potentially even go over them with you.

Be wary studying with friends

Some people are more motivated when studying with friends. However, this revision style isn’t suited to everyone. Certain people may be distracting if they’re not focused enough on studying. Others may be demotivating if they’re too panicky or keep focusing on the negatives. Don’t feel too ashamed to tell them that you’d rather study on your own. There are advantages to studying with someone – you can quiz each other and you discuss methods of revision. It’s worth doing some studying with a friend, but you may not want to spend your whole study time with them – especially the night before.

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