Are you coming up to exam season? Do you have assignments or coursework looming, but struggle with studying? Most students feel like this at one time or another, so you are not alone.
Being in school whether that is secondary, college or university exam season can be incredibly stressful and cause a lot of people anxiety. However, learning how to cope during this time will help you not only revise better but also help you to take care of your mental health as well. Pressure can be good as it is pushes you to work harder and improves motivation, but it is important to make sure that pressure doesn’t get on top of you.
Here are 5 study tips that will help you to meet those deadlines and excel in your exams:
1. Organise Your Study Space
Having an organised space is important for you to be able to fully concentrate on what you are trying to do. When you have a cluttered workspace, you are more likely to get distracted by the things around you and think that they are much more interesting than studying or writing an essay for a deadline.
Have you heard the quote: ‘Tidy space, tidy mind’? This means that if you have a tidy and organised environment, you will have a clearer mind. When you think about your study space, it is not just about whether it is tidy or not; there are other considerations that you need to be aware of. What is the temperature like? Have you ever tried studying or working somewhere that was really warm, or just too hot? It is harder to focus. You need to consider making the space the right temperature and using fans, or putting the heating on, or wearing cooler/warmer clothing. Do you have good lighting? Is your workspace quiet? All of these things can affect your focus and reduce your chance of success.
2. Get Consistent Sleep
Sleep is a crucial part of living a healthy and successful life. Whilst affecting your mental health, having a consistent, good sleep routine will help you with your study and effectiveness to reach those immovable deadlines.
Having poor sleep cannot only impact on your physical and mental wellbeing, but it can inhibit your levels of concentration and focus. Research suggests that good quality sleep helps to promote cognition and memory. Sleep strengthens memories you have formed throughout the day, but also helps to correlate new memories to earlier memories. This is why they say that the best way to remember something you have just learned is to sleep on it.
Tips for a better night’s sleep include:
- Top drinking caffeine after 7pm
- Reduce your screen time an hour before bed
- Make sure that your bedroom is the right temperature
- Write down any tasks or thoughts you may be worried about before bed
- Move your phone away from your bed, so that it doesn’t distract you
3. Reward Yourself
Some people can work very well under pressure; in fact a certain amount of pressure is healthy because it is needed to push yourself and to be successful. However, it is important to remember to reward yourself.
Rewarding yourself helps your brain to evoke positive emotions and your brain makes a link between our effort and a positive required. When you continuously practise this, it is more likely to motivate you to accomplish the tasks or goals that you have set. Taking the time to reward yourself can offer a break in your studying schedule.
Here are some small ways you can reward yourself for reaching a goal or milestone:
- Go for a walk
- Watch an episode of a favourite show
- Have a relaxing bath with bubbles or a bath bomb
- Meet with a friend and go to a local coffee shop
- Do a bit of online shopping
- Phone a family member of friend to catch up
So if you are struggling to find motivation to study or work on an assignment, put a reward in place. For example, if you work on a particular assignment or study a particular topic until lunch, treat yourself to lunch out.
4. Use To-Do Lists
To-do lists have a habit of provoking productivity and satisfaction when you get to check things off your list.
When you have multiple tasks or topics to study, using a to-do list can be beneficial in achieving al the tasks because it can stop you missing deadlines as you can see what you need to achieve instead of relying on memory. Writing down your tasks can help them feel more manageable and free up space in your mind to focus on the task at hand.
5. Take Regular Breaks
When you have a bigger workload especially if you are coming up to exams and the consequence of that is you push to work harder and for longer periods of time that you would usually. This is why you should make conscious decisions to rest. Do not feel guilty for removing yourself from your workload as it can really help with your health and your studies.
Taking a break can take many forms:
- Watching a film
- Having a nap
- Meditate or another form of relaxation
If you do not take regular breaks, it could cause you stress, tension or anxiety. You do not want cause a burn out because you will lose concentration and be less likely to accomplish your goals.
Here are the benefits of taking rest breaks from studying:
- It improves memory – shorter learning sessions with breaks in between increases your concentration and helps you to memorise all new information
- Can give you an energy boost – rests allow your body to recover. Activities such as 20-minute power naps can be a great way to feel refreshed. But, remember to set an alarm as you do not want it to go on for hours – we have all been there!
- Reduces stress – research has shared that students are more likely to experience high levels of stress. So, taking breaks can help reduce or relieve those symptoms.
These are just 5 study tips that are going to help motivate you to keep focused on your studies and to help you reach those deadlines that are coming and good luck!