Here are some of Evie’s top studying tips, to help you prep for exams!
By: Evie Tomita (Grade 11)
We’re nearing the end of the school year, and the smell of summer is in the air. The weather is warmer, the grass is green and there are flowers sprouting from seemingly every corner. No more are the days of darkness at five o’clock and relentless rain. We are on the edge between spring and summer, standing on a precipice just waiting to dive into the crystal water below.
And yet, there’s still that one nagging thought in the back of our mind: we’re not quite there yet. There’s one more obstacle we all have to face before we can taste freedom; the tests, assignments and exams that come with the end of the year.
But I’m here to tell you that you have nothing to fear: and since everyone is going through the same preparation, just know we’re all drinking too much coffee and crying about rationals as much as you are. Everyone has a different way to prepare for tests; so whether you have eight exams or one, here are five studying tips from yours truly.
1. Please, please, please plan ahead.
It may seem daunting, and altogether excessive, but I promise you planning out your studying time weeks in advance will help you immensely. Every student remembers that time where they didn’t plan for a big test, and found themselves cramming the night or even the class before. Now imagine doing that not for one unit, but for your entire course load. Not the greatest image, is it? And trust me, I’ve been there – I’ll never do that again. Studying in itself is stressful enough, so you don’t want to worry you don’t have adequate time. If this seems daunting, I recommend going to the study and asking the teachers there to help with your schedule. Personally, this helps me to see the big picture, and their reassuring presence makes think: wait, maybe I can do this.
2. Pick a place and time to study — preferably not your bed.
Okay, I have to admit – I’m guilty of this too. Can you blame me? My bed is the most versatile and comfortable place to study in my room – it’s the obvious choice. But there are quite a few reasons why this is actually detrimental. For one, it limits focus: your bed has warm covers, soft pillows, and all of a sudden you find yourself drifting…off…to…sleep…and suddenly it’s five hours later and still, no work has been done. Second, studying in bed decreases productivity. It’s a place for relaxation and comfort, and more often than not you’ll pull up Netflix or scroll through Instagram for another twenty minutes. Third, studying on your bed actually negatively affects your sleeping patterns. Because you’ve been doing work and focusing on your bed, your mind associates it with work. So, once you actually do decide to call it a night, your mind will continue to think and rob you of your rest. I hope all this has convinced you to not study in your bed and to instead pick a place that is quiet, comfortable, and will still force you to sit down and get work done. I recommend an office, library, or even in your backyard.
3. Take breaks, lots of them.
As important as studying is, it is even more important to pace yourself, take breaks, and give yourself time to rest. There is no victory if you pass the exam, but push yourself to the breaking point in the process. If you’re feeling tired or frustrated when revising material, that’s probably a sign you should take a break. In reality, working too long on one task can actually decrease your productivity and performance. But make sure you take a break the right way: get away from your studying space, and do something physical, maybe walk around the block, or sit in the sun for a while. This can help you clear your mind, or look at a problem in a different way.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: it’s never a sign of being less intelligent, or less capable if you want to ask for help. In fact, it can give you an advantage if you ask your teachers for extra help with your revision. More often than not, someone else will have the same questions as you. Teachers can tell you little hints and tidbits they’ve gathered throughout the years, and honestly? Your teachers are there because they want to teach you: they want you to succeed, and you should never be ashamed if you need a little more help.
5. Stay Motivated!
Last but not least, motivation. It can be hard, with the persistent presence of senioritis and seemingly endless Netflix shows, but it’s important to keep in mind why you’re studying so hard. Those might be personal reasons, but it’s usually that you want to do well for your teacher and for yourself. In this way, I like to write little mantras on the wall of my studying space, for when I’m losing my motivation. “I’m studying for this because…I want to do well because…This is important because…” I find it helps to look up and remember what I’m doing. For you, it might be remembering the career you want to work towards, or a course you want to take next year that has a prerequisite. Regardless, it always helps to have a reminder in your study space of why you’re working so hard, and to keep you motivated!
In the end, there’s no one way of studying that everyone swears by, it’s really what works for each subject and each person. But I hope you can de-stress, buckle down and review, and successfully complete your exams for a relaxing summer.
See you at the beach!