Three keys to ace your exams this year

A new year means a fresh start! The sooner you tackle studying, the more prepared you are when exams roll around.

Where do you get stuck?

First, identify the area you need help with applesdgothicneo 다운로드. You might have difficulty managing your time and prepping for tests. Maybe it’s memorisation that’s tricky for you. For some, it’s anxiety and nerves before the moment of truth.

Figure out your major issue and then work on a fall-back plan.

1. Memorise like a pro

Most of us can’t store that much information in our short-term memory. At best, you can recall a 7-digit number. To get around this brain-limitation, there is a technique called ‘chunking’.

Our brains remember complex information by stringing them together in a meaningful way. Say, for instance, I ask you to listen to one of your favorite tracks from 5 or 6 years ago: your mind will probably go to some other memories that this song reminds you of. This is how you collect and remember information: you link them together.

The key to using this technique, is to create something meaningful from information that seems random. For example, if you need to memorize a list of groceries, you can create a word from all the first letters. Now you only have one word to remember, and your mind will be able to recall the items more easily.

Another method, is to add meaning & emotion to ideas. Say, for instance, you need to remember the name of a great historian called George: and you have a friend called George, imagining your friend’s face connected to the historical George’s story will make the story more meaningful to you: you’re basically ‘chunking’ the history-lesson to your brain’s existing memories of your friend.

If this way of memorising doesn’t work for you, try:

  • Draw mind-maps or write out summaries of your work.
  • Create mnemonics to remember important concepts.
  • Memorise your work using flow-charts or diagrams
  • Understand your work by teaching it. Research published in the journal Memory & Cognition says that teaching your work, instead of memorising it, is a better way of understanding.

2. Timing is everything

Your course work is hectic, and you have a thriving social life to keep up with too… who has the time?! Start to manage your time early in the year – prioritise and scale down on extramural activities and social events, especially if they’re getting in the way of your academic performance.

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Manage your time better:

  • Colour-code your tasks on a big calendar in a very visible spot in your room, not just on your phone. This way, it’s hard to avoid and is a physical daily reminder to stay on track.
  • If you find your mind wandering and you can’t concentrate, get up and walk around the room. Short breaks will give you a boost of energy. Be flexible but realistic – you don’t have to drop all social obligations for the rest of the term. Simply plan around them.
  • Leave enough time for revision.
  • Be well-prepared by working through old exam papers.
  • Join a study-group for extra help and support.
  • Don’t put off a difficult piece of work – ask for help immediately if you don’t understand a concept.
  • Find your sweet spot of studying. For some it’s early hours of the morning, for others, it’s a stretch in the afternoon. Find what works for you and stick to it.
  • Make time for exercise – it’s scientifically proven that exercise improves your memory.
  • Plan ahead – studies have shown that cramming is not the most effective method of memorising your work.

3. Breathe!

Heart palpitations and sweaty palms before the test? Practise positive self-talk. Come up with a set of affirmations and let these work their magic.

  • Do breathing exercises to slow down your heart rate. Or count backwards from 100.
  • Be prepared and aware of the amount of writing time.
  • Visualise yourself writing confidently and calmly.
  • Get enough sleep the night before the test – sleep physically alters the brain to help you memorise your work better.
  • Eat a balanced diet to keep your brain sharp and your mind calm.
  • Try meditating the night before.