Education Matters

2017 scholars share their best study tips for Year 12 exams

Posted by Trinity Grammar School on Oct 4, 2018 6:00:00 AM

2017 scholars share their best study tips for Year 12 examsFinding the best study methods to fit your unique way of learning can be a practice in trial and error. Not all methods will suit all students. Trinity’s 2017 scholars share their best study tips for Year 12, and the methods they used to get through their gruelling final year of school.

1. Prioritise
It’s important to list tasks in order of priority. By creating lists, the workload can feel less overwhelming and you will get a sense of achievement as you cross items off your list. Elliot Ho says, “I was able to manage the workload of academics and co-curricular due to my ability to prioritise. Even when it seemed like the work was beginning to overwhelm me, by making a list of what I had to do and calculating the amount of time I had left to complete the work, I could focus on the end goal.”

2. Make a timetable
It’s important to allocate your time effectively to avoid procrastination and ensure that each subject gets the attention it needs. By timetabling everything from study, meals and social time, to co-curricular activities, exercise and sleep, you won’t need to think about what to do next as it will be all laid out, freeing your mind to focus on study. It also means that you don’t skip meals, get too little sleep or miss out on seeing friends and family. “Making a timetable and a daily task list of what to complete is crucial,” said Trinity graduate Ken Zhang. “It allows you to manage your time in the most effective way.”

3. Make study effective
If study time is used successfully, information is committed to your long-term memory, and it eliminates the need for long hours of cramming (which is less effective). It is important to remember that our memory of newly learned knowledge halves in a matter of days or weeks, and disappears almost completely over time, unless we consciously tell our brain ‘this is important’. Deliberate, regular practice has a significant positive impact on learning retention. Regular review is critical so that in the lead up to exams, students can focus on practicing what they know, rather than trying to cram in knowledge that should have been moved from working memory to long-term memory weeks and months prior.

“I am a firm believer of working smart, not hard. When I was studying, I knew what was required to obtain the mark I wanted, and so I was able to achieve what I wanted while putting in a reasonable amount of time and effort,” said Kevin Shen.

4. Be committed
Year 12 is a difficult year, but it doesn’t last forever. Be committed to study during this time and be prepared to make sacrifices in order to reach your goals. You will need to put in time to study and it will most likely mean less time for socialising and relaxing (though these shouldn’t be eliminated altogether). By keeping in mind that this is a short-term sacrifice for a long-term goal, can help to keep you motivated. Kieren Pearson offers this advice: “I would mentally make a list of what needed to get done each day on my way home. I then worked through the list, typically doing two to three hours a night on average. Some nights I did none, some nights I did more than four hours – it really was give and take depending on how I was feeling.” Adam Zhu adds: “Invariably, personal free time will have to be dramatically diminished while study must be maintained on a regular basis. I tried to get large assignments finished as early as possible to allow for revision.”

5. Identify your weaknesses
It’s important to be brutally honest with yourself. Identify your weaknesses and set about working on them and turning them into strengths. As the saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect.’ Teachers can help you in this regard. “Asking teachers for help when I was struggling in a specific area, and setting short-term goals all helped in managing my academic workload,” said Tim Semsarian.

6. Be organised
Know your deadlines, know what you need to do each day, and ensure you do it. Organisation is the key in getting through your task list and meeting your study objectives. “You always have to be organised. I was never the smartest person in the room, but I always knew exactly what needed to be done. I always knew what was due and when, and I was always organised in my approach,” said Christopher Monaha.

7. Break it down
You’ve timetabled your week so that you know exactly what you have to do and when. You’ve made a list of what you’d like to achieve in your study time. Now it’s time to break it down further. Rather than allocating one hour to maths, break the time down further by listing what you will cover in that hour. This will ensure you go over all the necessary concepts. Jasen Yu shares his tips: “I would break up each individual subject into smaller tasks as I found it intrinsically rewarding to tick off each task as I completed it, making study more enjoyable and efficient. I made sure I had 15-minute breaks every two hours as it refreshed my mind and enabled me to stay focused.”

8. Find time for unwinding
Although you may feel pressure to spend every waking moment with the books, it is important that you find the right balance to avoid burning out or studying ineffectively. Sleep, a healthy diet, exercise and social contact are all important elements of a good study regime. “I found getting up early and doing a few hours of study, then ‘unwinding’ with gym or basketball, and then sometimes another study session later, let me split study time and still do co-curricular activities during the day,” commented Oliver Davis.

Trinity graduate Peter Kostoglou adds: “Approaching study with a clear and calm conscience allowed me to maximise my ability to process information. I would leave the time from after school to 7.00pm free to fit in co-curricular activities, relaxation, dinner and other things. At 7.00pm I would begin studying and work until about 11.00pm with a 15-minute break for snacks. I would consistently do this, and I found this was the best way to manage time and make sure I was in the right mood to process academic concepts.

For more information about exam time, read our tips for staying mentally fit at exam time, top six exam preparation tips and ensure that you have an efficient home study space.

For over a hundred years Trinity has educated boys in mind, body and spirit, and we are constantly evolving our teaching methods to ensure our boys receive the best education possible. We actively encourage our students to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man, so that they may become responsible, contributing members of society. We strive to promote the spiritual, academic, social, physical and cultural development of our boys, based on a biblical understanding of the Christian faith.

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Topics: Homework, Improve learning, Study tips