The key to academic success is effort and perseverance.
Study is a regular part of life for high school students, particularly in the senior years. Study skills are vital for developing independent learning. The crucial thing to remember is that there is no escaping hard work – the key to academic success is not ability, but rather a combination of effort and perseverance. Listed below are the top six exam preparation tips.
- Revise, revise, revise!
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 reviewing 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. Top tips for revision:
- Remain up-to-date with homework throughout the year.
- Revise class notes every night and summarise work at the end of each week.
- Make suitable progress on assignment work in the weeks leading up to the due date.
- Review work monthly.
- Self-test regularly.
- Create a study schedule
The key to maximising time is a well-structured and balanced study schedule. Not only will this help with organisation, it will also reduce stress and put your mind at ease that things are generally under control.
- Study during hours that you have maximum energy.
- Allow for meal times and time with your family.
- Eliminate any unproductive time.
Sharing study plans with family members can help optimise time, with planned meal times, break periods, and time allocated to family to help with quizzes and questioning.
- Complete practice papers
This is one of the most important, and easiest factors in maximising results, however it is important to ensure it is done well. When completing practice papers ensure the focus is deliberate:
- Improve one specific skill in each subject, and practice over and over.
- Set goals for practice papers.
- Seek feedback on completed papers.
- Engage in active study
Most people do not absorb information easily just by reading. Active study means more than just reading, for example:
- Make notes – one of the most important elements of effective study.
- Create mind maps, flow diagrams and flash cards.
- Highlight key passages.
- Create a study guide in point form.
- Make up rhymes, songs and mnemonics to aid in remembering key points.
- Self-test regularly by posing and answering questions.
- Say things aloud (yes, really).
- Choose an appropriate study location
It’s important to ensure all materials are on hand, close by and organised. Ensure there are no distractions or background noise, especially mobile phones, social media and music with lyrics (classical is best). Avoid lying down on a bed to study as the body is trained to associate lying down with resting and sleeping. Ensure the study area is:
- well lit, but not too bright
- well ventilated, cool but not too cold
- well organised
- Take regular breaks, exercise and maintain a regular sleeping pattern
It is important to take regular breaks of five to 10 minutes every 50 minutes, as this is the peak amount of time of optimal concentration. Taking regular short breaks can help improve focus and boost productivity. In the break, get a drink, step outside, stretch or chat to family members.
After sitting at a desk for long periods, your body can start to shut down and reduce your energy levels. Incorporate physical activity into your weekly schedule to maintain energy levels.
Get into a regular sleeping pattern, even during the holidays. Don’t go to bed after midnight and try to wake up by 8.00am. This will help increase alertness, improve energy and reduce fatigue.
The Trinity difference
Trinity Grammar School offers an extended-hours study programme giving students the opportunity to share a meal with the boarding community and receive academic mentoring from Old Boys, under the supervision of Library and teaching staff.
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