No examiner cares if your notes are highlighted, whether your books are in numerical order, or your room is tidy. They only care about what is written on the page… so make sure it counts. Here are some tactics to make sure you get the most out of your study time so that you gain the best possible marks.
1. Be honest with yourself
Studying isn’t about how many hours you sat in front of a computer or your books or how many parties you have missed because you are “studying”, it is just plain hard work. Studying can be time consuming especially if you spend half the time wondering what is going on at the party you are missing or stressing about the fact that you won’t be able to pass the exam instead of actually sitting down and learning the information. So be fair to yourself and make the time count. Otherwise you may as well be at the party.
If you are not spending the time wisely then be honest with yourself. Perhaps you need to revisit why you are doing this exam. Is it because you want to get into a particular college course? Or is it that if you don’t pass this time you might be back studying again next year or you never get the chance to do this again?
2. Be smart with yourself
Every exam has a technique. Learn the technique, ace the exam. Take for example the HSC General Mathematics exam. The exam paper consists of 2 Sections. Section 1 has 25 short questions worth 25 marks (1 mark per question) while Section 2 has 5 longer questions worth 75 marks (15 marks per question). Therefore the majority of your study time should be focussed on doing well at Section 2. If you divide your study time based on the amount of marks on offer then you will spend 3 times longer studying and practicing Section 2 type questions over Section 1. If you have an exam where you know that the paper offers a choice of questions, then focus your time on the questions that suit you the best and that will gain you the most marks.
3. Be organised
Your time is valuable! Don’t be missing that awesome party without a good reason. Most people have an attention span of 40 minutes. School timetables are set up to reflect that. So make sure you are organised for when you sit down to study. To study math you will need past exam papers, notes from school, a notepad, working pens ready and a working calculator. You may also require graph paper, pencil and sharpener and ruler for drawing graphs etc. This should be all you need.
Plan your study in 40 minute blocks. Give yourself a goal of what you will be able to do after that 40 mins. Usually in Math a good goal would be something like – “I will be able to answer all part a) of every question 1 for the past five years” or “I will know the exact difference between simple interest and compound interest and will be able to answer past exam questions on each”.
Think about the exam sitting. You want to try and make every study session similar to your exam setting so you can train your brain to work in this environment. No exam setting is totally silent, so a bit of background noise needs to be expected. You need to learn to block it out. Generally there are no phones allowed in the exam hall so leave your phone out of reach.
Start your study by practicing some questions. This will reinforce what you’ve already learnt and will tell you what you know and what you need to spend more time studying.
Your time is valuable – spend it wisely.
If you’ve got any extra tips or tactics for managing your time spent studying then we’d love to hear them in the comments section below.