To study for your exams effectively, you need to have an effective strategy to make the most from it. Here are some basic guidelines to help you achieve more from your studying:
Organise Your Notes Properly
Successful organisation of your notes is 50% of effective study and revision. When you organise your notes properly, your mind is much more organised to revise effectively. You can get to the tasks and notes you need quickly, without having to waste time. Your focus and mental energy can stay on the important things at hand.
To organise your notes effectively, you need to have several things:
a) A set of folders
You will put your notes into these folders. Make sure you have a hole punch so that the notes can go int othe folder properly. You want to get folders which are hard back and not paper files, where notes can easily fall out.
b) A set of color dividers
Color dividers allow you to seperate the main topics you want to revise. It also allows you to get to them easily, without having to shift through pages of notes etc to find them.
c) A set of color highlighters.
Highlighters are important to highlight the importance pieces of work that you want to remember. You should give yourself at least 3 highlighters for this purpose. Each highlighter is used for a different thing. The most important points and headings are used with one color. The second color is used for the main lessons and ideas you need to know. The third highlighter is for supplementary information which is significant, butnot as important as the other ideas.
These 3 tools are an excellent way towards having a neat, condensed and manageable set of notes. You will feel like a load has dropped off your shoulders when you do this.
Set Up A Timetable
A timetable of revision and study is super critical.
Failing to plan is the same as planning to fail. So for you to succeed, you need to set a plan of action which you must be self-disciplined on to follow. You should split your study time into blocks of 45-50 minutes each. If you make your blocks any shorter, you won't give yourself enough study time.
Making it longer also runs the risk of making you bored or mentally tired, which will tend to drag on for the remainder of your study session, so it's best to stick to 45-50 mins. Sometimes it may be that even 45 mins is too long. In which case, you should set your revision to a time which is suitable for you. 45-50 mins will work for most people though.
Preferably, you want to revise for as much time as possible. If you have the whole day free, you should spend at least 8-9 hours of studying (assuming you have a super important exam that you absolutely need to pass). 8-9 hours might seem like a long time to you, but it's not as long as it sounds when you think about objectively. Say for example you started revising at 8am in the morning. This means you would be finished by 5pm, which is more or less the same as most people who work would finish at.
If you only have a few hours to revise, say in the evening, then 4-5 hours should be your target. So what you need to do is set your time into blocks with the amount of time you have to spare. You should give yourself a 5 minute break after every block is finished. After the first 3 blocks, give yourself 30 minutes of rest time. This will help your mind to stay mentally alert and active.
Next, put your timetable up in a place where you can see it, in a clear, well lit location. A good place would be directly on the wall in front of your study desk. Make sure the timetable is large, with clear headings. You should try to revise for at least 5 days per week. So the headings for your timetable should be Monday to Friday (or whatever days you will tend to revise). You should have at least a whole day off where there is no revision whatsoever. The only exception to this would be in a case where its super urgent that you revise every day. In that case, you will need to revise every single day. For example, many university students revise for 8-9 hours per day prior to their final exams.
Be Disciplined And Stick To Your Routine
The essence and whole point of setting up a timetable to revise is to tell you what you need to be doing to keep on track to achieve your goal. You need to be committed and you need to put in the effort to get the results you want. There is no other way. Successful people make a habit of doing the things that unsuccessful people don't like to do. By setting up the correct habits and sticking to your timetable, your exam success is guaranteed. Some habits which you will need to avoid are the habits of watching TV, spending too much time eating, socialising with friends etc etc. You will need to make sacrifices somewhere to get the results you want.
Exam Success Part 2