There is a reason why we didn't try to rope you into this blog post under the premise of making studying ""fun,"" or anything like that. The fact of it is that studying can be mentally challenging and exhausting, but that doesn't mean you can't find ways of making your time more effective.
Whether it's for your Leaving Certificate, summer exams or the end of your college year, we want to help you make little changes that could prove to be extremely helpful.
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- Break it Up
One of the easiest changes to your study routine that you can make is to break it into blocks of 50 minutes, with a 10 minute rest period. There's only so much information you can soak up in an hour, so try to give yourself a structured break rather than keep going till you hit a wall.
There's no faster way of draining all of your energy than sitting in the one spot for too long, and those few minutes of rest could prove invaluable. Simply popping down to make a cup of tea or going for a quick stroll outside can help refresh your mindset (and your eyes if you've been looking at a screen).
- Say it Loud
This one might not be for everyone, but sometimes saying something out loud can be a great way to help yourself to remember something. Whether this means saying a mathematical equation out loud to yourself or defining a scientific rule to a family member, it can help cement it in your mind.
Perhaps try writing things out on flash cards or paper notes, focus on memorising them, and close your eyes. If you can remember without looking, the chances are that it'll be easier to recall next time around.
- Go by Subject
If you have five different topics or subjects that you need to work on, it might be worth not approaching it purely from a time perspective. Instead of targeting an hour per subject, maybe aim for today's target to be getting through one chapter or section.
Once you feel like you have reached the target you set out at the start, you can roll onto the next item on the agenda, which brings us to the next point.
- Map it Out
We really can't stress this one enough. Setting aside a massive amount of time to study is definitely a good idea, but how often has it resulted in you feeling like you're not making progress?
Think about how much you would be able to fit into the amount of time you have, and don't worry about anything other than that. Knowing one science experiment inside out is a much more achievable task than gaining a perfect understanding of chemistry in one day, so make your plan a practical one!
- Nap it Out
Please don't take the above point to mean us encouraging you to sleep during study time...
Sleep is an essential part of keeping your brain working at its best. You are far more likely to be able to absorb information when properly rested, so don't let your exam schedule get in the way of a good night's sleep.
- Embrace Mistakes
“The greatest teacher, failure is.”
Even if you're not a Star Wars fan, this Yoda quote is one that we should all try to remember when coming up to an exam. If you get something wrong in the lead-up, finding out the right answer and gaining an understanding of it can sometimes make it completely cemented in your mind.
- Picture it Differently
Looking at textbooks or staring at a laptop screen for long periods of time can be exhausting, so it's a good idea to mix it up. Maybe try looking up a video tutorial on YouTube, or printing out some graphics that will help your understanding.
If you can't find any useful infographics or diagrams, this could actually be a great opportunity to make something new. Mapping it out yourself can help your own knowledge, and we reckon you will deserve extra kudos for being creative!
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