Did you know that for every hour you spend writing out notes, you’re only getting approximately 12 minutes of productive study done?
Too many students are wasting time studying. Literally.
The key to good grades isn’t in the amount of hours you put in, but the efficiency of your learning. Study smart, not hard.
Spending three solid hours studying efficiently will do much more for your grades than spending a whole day studying with ineffective techniques.
I hate to break it to you, but traditional methods like reading, writing and highlighting the notes you already have is not an efficient way to spend your time.
In fact, it’s likely creating an illusion of competence in your brain, meaning you think you’re getting lots done, but are more likely to flop badly in the exam. In order to study smart, you need to use active learning strategies.
That means instead of reaching for your highlighter this exam season, try out these techniques instead.
Summarise and condense. Get an overview of the subject by summarising the concept, as though you are teaching the subject to someone who knows nothing about it.
- Condense all your information onto one A4 sheet of paper.
- If it’s irrelevant, don’t include it.
- Mind-maps are good for visualising and summarising your knowledge.
Make yourself relatable examples. Things that have meaning are easier to remember than empty information.
- Give your concepts context and meaning, and write them down on your summary sheet.
- Instead of memorising information, try to create connections between your material and wider ideas/knowledge/memories/contexts.
- For example, if you’re learning about alleles, you might think about how you have blue eyes and your sister has brown eyes, and reflect on that analogy to help you remember important information.
Test yourself. Testing yourself is the best way to find gaps in your knowledge, and also to objectively assess how prepared you are.
- Find exam exemplars and past papers, and complete them under fake exam conditions.
- Make your own questions, cover your notes and see how many you can answer.
- Make flashcards and get a friend to test you.