The countdown to exams

by Lucy Pirrie

Do you ever catch yourself mid-sentence only to realise that you have been reading the same paragraph over and over, yet nothing seems to have stuck? Exams are just around the corner and the pressure definitely feels real.

Subjects with heavy content can be daunting when studying for exams, so let’s break down how to study smarter, not harder!

How to memorise notes:

1. Visual learners:

Create a mind-map. Colour-coding notes can be a fantastic way to draw connections between ideas. Use flash-cards, diagrams and pictures to help trigger your memory.

When you need a break from intense study, head to YouTube. Watching a video on relevant topics can reinforce what you already know, or teach you something you didn’t know before!

2. Auditory learners:

A great way to memorise your notes is by recording yourself saying your notes. Listen to them in the gym, on the drive home on the weekend and let them sink into your brain.

Reading the material out loud can help, as well as talking with others. If you’re feeling creative, write a rap or song from your notes or create an acronym.

3. Read and write learners:

Take detailed notes in class and read over them as soon as you get home. Rewrite notes, write regular summaries, read extra information on your topics.

Try the ‘lightning writing’ activity where after you have read through your notes, you give yourself a time limit of five minutes to write everything you can remember about a certain topic.

This is effective, as it allows you to see where you need to improve and areas that need more study.

Improve your concentration:

  1. Exercise in the morning. It release endorphins and puts you in a positive mindset. It will improve cognitive performance and increase concentration.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep. If you’re trying to cram information at the last minute and are staying up till 2am, the chances are you won’t remember much in the morning. You’re better off having a full eight hours of sleep, so your brain functions more efficiently and so you’re not falling asleep on the exam table…
  3. Eat healthily! Walnuts, fish, blueberries and almonds are some foods that are excellent for memory and focus.
  4. Change up your study environment. If you’re feeling agitated and are suffering from FOMO with people having fun in the common room, make a change! Head to the library and get work done with no distractions.
  5. Stay positive. Remember, exams are not the end of the world. You always know more than you think!

The last study days leading up to exams can be tedious, so it’s essential you are breaking up your study by rewarding and most importantly, looking after yourself.