Oh, the dreaded exam. The one that keeps you up at night, and makes you study in the morning. If you're anything like me, exams are pretty tough. The reason: I get distracted very easily. Trust me, I always want to get a high mark in exams (preferably 100%), but even with that kind of motivation, it's still really hard for me to study persistently. So, I've made up a few tips that will hopefully help you (and me!) study better and with more organization!
1. Make a schedule!
I have taken a few music history exams now, and they all require a lot of memorization. What ends up happening is that I push all of the stuff that I have to memorize at the last moment, which is not fun to do. So this is where the first tip comes in: make yourself a schedule! It doesn't have to be a super complicated schedule. It's like a to-do list. For example, today I will challenge myself to memorize *this* essay. And when I do manage to memorize it, I can check it off my to-do list! It's actually very satisfying, and it's a great way to stay organized. You can choose to make a day-by-day list, or a something more prolonged, like a week-by-week one. I prefer the day-by-day one, because looking a schedule for a whole week can feel a little stressful.
2. Focus on the studying!
Now I know that sounds a bit obvious, but like I've said before, I get distracted very easily. I have learned from previous studying mistakes that I always lose focus of my studying if there's a good book beside me. So these days, I skip the library if I have an exam coming up. For example, if you love your cellphone and you can't stop texting, you could just put your cell in another room while you study (and put the speakers up in case someone calls).
3. Choose and organize your study place!
The place where you study will definitely affect how you study. Studying in front of a T.V. or in a loud and crowded room will definitely not help your studying (unless you're a super-human and you're not distracted by these things). Choose somewhere calm, where you can study in peace. Organizing the desk/table where you're studying is important. Studying in a clutter of mess makes you more stressed out (at least, for me).
4. Look at your exam in the big picture!
It's always great to look at what you have to study in whole, because then you'll know how much you have to study everyday.
5. Take a break!
Studying for hours straight can take a toll on your brain- and body. Take a walk around your house, or go outside for some fresh air. I think it's definitely easier to study when relaxed.
6. Put it in your own words!
Understanding the material of what your reading is key. I find it much easier to study/memorize something that I can actually understand.
7. Make yourself a nice, big glass of iced water!
I have a pretty sensible head, and when I study for a long time I will get a slight headache. Water with ice cubes always seems to help, because it really cools me down. (But I never do this during those cold Canadian winters!)
8. Study in the morning!
Now, I only recommend this if you're studying during the summer. I think studying in the morning is better than at night, because you're mind is still fresh and awake, and when it's the evening, it's more tired and jumbled with thoughts.
Well, these are my tips for now. If you have any tips you want to share, feel free to do it! I'm always looking for new ideas to make studying something more enjoyable!