The following is from the Youth Central webpage.
Top 10 Study Tips
Study isn't just for the night before an assignment's due or the night before an exam.
It's never too early – or too late – to develop good study habits. The sooner you get into a good study groove, the easier everything will be and the more your chances of getting good marks will improve.
Here are our top tips for getting the most out of study.
1. Pick a place and time
Everyone has their own idea about the best place and time to study. Whether it's your bedroom at night or the library after school, find a study space and a regular study time that works for you and stick with it.
- Set up your study space – Your study space should be quiet, comfortable and distraction-free. It should make you feel happy and inspired. Decorate it with your favourite pictures or objects. If you want to listen to music or burn incense, pick a space that lets you do that.
- Find your best time – Some people work better in the morning. Others work better at night. Work out which time suits you and plan to study then. Don't study much later than your usual bedtime – pushing yourself late at night can make you too tired to study properly.
2. Study every day
If you study a little bit every day you'll be continually reviewing things in your mind. This helps you understand things. It also helps you avoid the stress of last-minute cramming.
Early in the year an hour or two a night might be enough to stay on top of things. Later in the year you might need to study more each day.
If you're finding it hard to find time to study, cut back on some (but not all!) of your other activities. Prioritising study might mean spending less time online, or it might mean cutting back on shifts at work, or giving weekend sport a miss for a while.
3. Plan your time
It helps to have some plans in motion so you can make the most of your study time.
- Set alarms – Set alarms to remind you about your study plans. A regular reminder keeps you honest and your plans on track.
- Use a wall planner – Stick a calendar or wall planner up so you can see it whenever you're studying. Mark it up with important dates, like exams and assignment due dates. Use it to block out your regular study timetable too.
- Make to-do lists – Lists break tasks down into manageable chunks. At the start of the week, make a list of the things that you need to have done by the end of the week. Make a to-do list at the start of each study session too, so that you're clear about what you need to be doing with your time.
- Set time limits – Before you start your study session, have a look at your to-do list and give yourself a set time to spend on each task. If you don't get something done in the set time, consider whether it's the best use of your time to keep going with it, or to start working on something else.
4. Discover your learning style
Most of us have a preferred way of learning. Get to know the learning style you're most comfortable with and study in the ways you learn best.
Note that these styles are just a way to think about diffent studying techniques – they're not hard and fast rules that say you should only study in one way. Try each of these out and see which ways you prefer.
- Auditory learners prefer to learn by listening. Try reading your notes aloud and discussing them with other people. You might like to record key points and play them back.
- Visual learners prefer to learn by seeing. Try using colours in your notes and draw diagrams to help represent key points. You could try to remember some ideas as images.
- Tactile/kinesthetic learners prefer to learn by doing. Try using techniques like role-playing or building models to revise key points.
5. Review and revise
At least once a week you should go back over the things you've studied in class. Thinking things over can help you to understand the concepts and help you remember when you need them the most.
- Quiz – Get a friend or family member to quiz you on key concepts. Offer to help your friends with their work too. Quizzes are great ways to get confident about what you know and find out what you still need to learn.
- Make your own study materials – Think up some practice exam questions or create your own flash cards to help you study. This way you learn it all twice: once when you make the study materials and once when you use them to revise.
6. Take breaks
It's important to take breaks while you're studying, especially if you're feeling tired or frustrated. Working too long on a task can actually decrease your performance.
When you take a break, make sure you get away from your desk or study space. A bit of physical – even just a walk around the block – can sometimes help you to look at a problem in a different way and could even help you to solve it.
7. Ask for help
If you're stuck on something, or something just doesn't seem to make sense, you can always ask for help. Talk to your teachers or lecturers about the things you don't understand. Talk to your friends and fellow students too.
8. Stay motivated
When you're studying it helps to keep in mind your reasons for doing all this hard work, like a course or career you're working towards. It can help to have something in your study space to remind you of your goals.
You could also decorate your study space with inspirational quotes or photos of people you admire and family members you want to make proud of you.
9. App it up
There are heaps of apps out there for helping students with all aspects of study. Have a chat with your friends and teachers or lecturers to see which apps they recommend.
You should also check out the iTunes Collections page on iPads for Learning, which provides links to Australian Curriculum courses on iTunes U as well as educational apps aimed at high school, middle school and primary school students.
10. Look after yourself
You’ll study better if you take care of yourself. Make sure you eat well and get enough sleep and physical exercise. Don't reward yourself with too many sugary or fatty snacks or push yourself to study late into the night. It’s also a good idea to make sure you drink lots of water when you’re studying.
Now come up with your own strategies
These tips are only some of the things you can do to get the most out of your studying. You might already have other things that work better for you. Find out what your friends do when they're studying. Maybe your teachers have some good recommendations too.
Whatever it is, whatever strategy you come up with, when you find something that works for you, put it into practise and go for it!
If you’ve got an exam coming up you might also like to have a look at our Top Ten Exam Tips page. You should also check out the links below.
Ergo - Study Skills
The State Library of Victoria's Ergo website has a helpful range of studying tips and advice.
iPads for Learning - iTunes Collections
Links to collections of apps and iTunes U courses.
Top 10 Exam Tips
Exams are inevitable for students, but they don't have to be painful. These tips can help you get ready for and get through your exams. They can also help you prepare for tests and class presentations, and tackle in-class assignments.
1. Find out about the exam
Know your enemy – find out as much as you can about the exam. Questions to ask include:
- How much is the exam worth to your overall mark in the subject?
- What type of exam is it (for example, multiple choice, essay, open book, take-home)?
- Will there be a choice of questions or tasks?
- How much will each question or task be worth?
2. Ask for help
Don’t feel bad if you need to ask for help. People you can talk to about exams include:
- family members
- friends and fellow students.
If you’re feeling really stressed you might also find it helpful to speak to a counsellor. Our Student counselling page has tips for finding a counsellor.
3. Sort out your subject material
Before starting to review a subject it helps to:
- check you have all of the handouts
- put your notes in order
- read over any course outline or subject guide
- write your own summaries of each textbook chapter or section of the subject guide.
Getting all your gear together makes it easier to find what you need while you’re studying.
4. Review past exam papers
Get your hands on any old exam papers from the subject and familiarise yourself with the structure and format. Places you can get past exam papers from include:
- your teacher or lecturer
- your school or university library
- the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority.
When reviewing, practise answering the questions within the specified time limits.
5. Know where to go
Make sure you know where and when the exam is happening. You don't want to miss your exam! Here's how to make sure that doesn't happen to you.
- Check your exam timetable for time and place details.
- Do a practise run to find out how long it takes to get there.
- Make a list of everything you need to take with you (for example, calculator, pencil, ruler).
- Do some study at the same time as your exams (for example, if you have an early morning exam, practise getting up and studying earlier in the day).
6. Don't cram
Staying up all night to cram will only stress you out. It's better to just review what you've already studied and get an early night. That way you'll be as refreshed as you can be on the day of your exam.
If you want to do some preparation the night before, keep it simple:
- Get all your materials together.
- Read over your notes.
- Test yourself on key concepts.
- Set your alarm.
7. Keep your cool
Fronting up to an exam can be nerve-wracking, but here are some tips for staying calm:
- Don’t talk too much to other students before the exam.
- Try to get there with time to spare so you don't arrive all rushed.
- Make sure you have a decent breakfast.
- Listen to some inspiring music on the way to the exam.
- Wear your lucky shirt or bring a lucky charm (if you have one).
8. Use your reading time
The way you use your reading time can really help you make the most of your exam time. Here are some ways to use your reading time well:
- Read all of the instructions very carefully.
- Scan the whole exam paper.
- Check how many pages there are.
- Check how much each question is worth (it helps to spend more time on heavier weighted questions).
- Plan which questions to answer first (consider starting with questions you're confident about).
- Plan how much time you'll spend on each answer or section.
- Start thinking about your answers.
9. Break the questions down
A great tip for any exam is to break the questions down to make sure you really understand what you’re being asked.
Look for the key parts of the question. These can give you clues on how to answer it.
For example, for the question, "Explain the difference between study and revision", you could split this question into four parts:
- Explain – Give reasons to show how or why something is the way it is.
- The difference – What are the distinguishing factors between study and revision?
- Study – What is study?
- Revision – What is revision?
10. Review your answers (if you can)
If you finish the exam before the time is up it's a good idea to go back over everything, even answers you're confident you got right. Try to:
- review as many answers as you can
- start with the questions you're least confident about
- make sure you've answered every question
- make sure you've answered every part of every question (some questions might have multiple parts).
Come up with your own strategies
Remember – these tips are only some of the things that you can do to get the most out of your exams. There might be other things that work even better for you.
Ask around – find out what your friends do for their exams – maybe some of their tricks will work for you as well! Maybe your teachers have some good recommendations too.
For more tips and advice about exams and studying, check out our Top ten study tips page.