Exams are one of the most stressful periods of any young person’s life. Long nights struggling to stay awake, repeating the information over and over again, drinking too much coffee and biting your nails to the quick. All these and more make taking exams and remembering school work in general tough. Hopefully, this study hacks article will help.
Spoiler Alert: If you are not a fan of reading then there is a video at the end of this article that covers this topic.
Here are ten study hacks to improve your memory and do better at the exam. Read on!
1. Speak it out loud
Speaking out loud, instead of just saying things in your head, is the best way to study and memorize what you need to know. There’s no need to go into the science of why this works, but it has to do with hearing the words physically rather than mentally.
Still, who cares about the science as long as it works, and it does. One other study tip; you probably don’t want to do this if your sitting in the library, but pretty much anywhere else works well.
2. Teach what you know
Studying like a crazy person is all well and good but it is really tricky to know if you really know what you think you know if you know what I mean. As study hacks go, teaching sounds a bit counterintuitive, but it really works.
Most schools and universities have extracurricular activities related to school work such as homework clubs in school. Volunteer to help students understand the things that you need to know. If you find yourself struggling, you don’t know it well enough and need to study more yourself.
3. Study in a group
Group study is not for everyone. In fact, when I was at school, I really didn’t like studying in groups. However, when I went to university, I found a group studying quite fun and a lot more beneficial than I thought it would be.
Even if you don’t want to contribute much, just being in a group may help you focus more and continue studying, especially if you are the sort of person who gets easily distracted. And remember my last studying method; you can do some teaching in the group as well.
4. Using apps to block distractions
And speaking of being easily distracted, using apps to block annoying social media and celebrity sites is one of the best study hacks. I’ll be honest, I feel very sorry for students these days. As a young man, sites like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter didn’t exist.
As a matter of fact, when I was at university, there weren’t even phones or computers to speak of. As a teacher, I felt just as sorry for my students for the same reason. So, block everything during study time; you’ll be grateful you did.
5. Take regular study breaks
We have done four studying methods so far relating to studying so let’s mention one that isn’t. You need to take lots of breaks throughout the day. How many you take and how often you take them is up to you. One common suggestion is 55 minutes study, 5 minutes break.
Personally, I think that the break is a bit short. My personal favorite is 1 hour 45 minutes work, 15 minutes break. Of course, this does not include food breaks which need to be longer. Anyway, the important takeaway from this is to take breaks. How often and how long is up to you.
Also, make sure that you consuming good quality foods. You can also take a look at the top ten foods for mood-boosting and brain health.
6. Use mindmaps for facts and dates
Mind mapping might be the best study techniques for memorization. This is a great method for all those boring facts and figures. One of my favorite subjects at school was history. I loved all the different kings, queens, presidents, and dictators. And as I was like pretty much any other ‘normal’ young boy, wars and battles were great fun.
The problem was I couldn’t remember dates, names and all the other annoying details that were needed for the big marks. Mindmaps helped me get around this problem and they’ll work for you too.
7. Exercise regularly and often
There is no point sitting glued to your books or sitting in front of your computer for so long that you’re not actually studying at all. You need to get up and move around.
Getting your blood pumping and breathing some fresh air in, if you’re lucky enough to actually live somewhere with fresh air, is really important. And it does not just exercise that’s necessary.
You should also make sure you keep your eyes strong as well. Look away from your books or monitor often. It doesn’t have to belong, 30 seconds or so is enough. Just make sure you focus on something far enough away to exercise your lenses.
8. Listen to music
Because we live in a world of distractions, we find it difficult to do one activity without doing half-a-dozen other activities at the same time. This is also why people think they are good at multitasking, which is also another big lie you should get over. Multitasking doesn’t work either so don’t do it.
Now music, on the other hand, is one thing that does aid studying, but only if it’s the ‘correct’ type of music. Avoid music with lyrics because we tend to listen to lyrics if they are there. Listening to instrumental music definitely works, classical probably works even better.
9. Don’t stay up all night
Finally, one of the best studying methods is not to study, well, not all night. Actually, don’t stay up all night at any time but especially just before your exam.
There is little evidence to suggest that cramming all night makes any difference and there really shouldn’t be any need for you to do so anyway. To be honest, if you study well during the semester, using the study hacks above regularly, you should know everything you need to know.
If you spend your time at school or university taking lifeless than seriously, then staying up all night is not the solution; working harder is. Also, beware of ten bedtime mistakes that can make you gain weight at night.
10. Reward yourself with a treat
Our last study hack is rewarding yourself with a treat after finishing the lesson. There are many ways to combine a reward system into your habits so you learn how to study for exams more efficiently.
Here’s an easy way to motivate yourself to study with Gummy Bears. Also, you can set a specific target to finish any particular lesson; after finishing that you can treat your self with a candy or ice cream.
And there you have it. At the risk of sounding old, allow me to give you a little advice. You only get one chance in life to do well at school and university, so don’t blow it. Work hard, do well at school, and make your parents proud. That is the recipe for a successful life. Oh, and use the study hacks above. Click here to watch the video on YouTube.