Preparing to Study

It’s that time in the academic year when, if you have any exams this semester like I do, you’ll be thinking of your revision preparation sometime soon. I thought I’d share some of my revision and general study tips for this reason! If you’re lucky enough to not have any exams this semester, hopefully you’ll still find this useful as most of my tips will apply to coursework as well.

Firstly, any good study session has to be in the right environment. Only you know which environment works best for you, so you should work this out by trying out some different environments. As well as this, certain environments work better for different types of studying, so you really need to experiment! I like to work at my desk with my door closed, but it doesn’t have to be silent. As long as there are minimal distractions, this usually works for me! I can listen to music as long as I’m not reading or writing for an essay, as this seems to take a lot more concentration for me personally. Some might work best in the library, but I’ve found recently that I actually prefer being at home. Some have to be in complete silence, and others have to be listening to music. Either way, it’s up to you to figure out what works for you!

Next, we’ve got to reduce those distractions. If you’re working on your laptop or computer, don’t have tabs open such as YouTube or Netflix, as these will only tempt you away from your work! It’s quite difficult not to do this if YouTube or Netflix are things you watch during breaks from your studying, but my best tip would just be to close the tab as soon as you start working again. As well as this, of course, try to put your phone far away from you or on silent so you don’t get distracted by all your notifications! This one is quite difficult, but it’s so worth it because in my experience I get my work done so much faster if I don’t go on my phone, so afterwards I have more time to go on my phone! If there’s anything else that you just know will distract you, it’s best to get rid of it while you’re studying.

My next tip would definitely be to take regular breaks. You have to be really disciplined to do this right, because breaks that are too long just end up being a massive distraction. Try setting a timer while you’re working for, say, 10 minutes, then set a timer for 5 minutes to have a break, then work for 15 minutes, and have another 5 minute break. Keep building this up, and the short breaks should keep you motivated to keep working!

This next tip is probably only appropriate to studying for exams, as it involves making sure you know exactly what you have to study and what not to waste time on. Doing this early will ensure that you don’t waste time on things you already know, or don’t even have to know for the exam, and ensure that you will spend sufficient time revising the really important stuff. I’d recommend checking lecture schedules, reading textbooks, looking over your lecture notes etc. and maybe creating a plan for your study sessions leading up to the exam, depending on how much you have to revise. However, don’t waste loads of time planning as this serves as just another distraction to your studying!

I hope my tips help those of you with exams this semester, and if you’re heading in for your first ever university exams, don’t worry! They aren’t that different to school exams, and you can leave whenever you like (apart from right at the start and right before the end) so there are some positives! Good luck!

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