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Organise your study time

You will almost certainly find some subjects easier than others. You will also find that you have more to revise for some subjects than others. It is worth taking the time to plan your revision and consider how much time you might need for each subject. It is also helpful to consider when and how long you plan to spend studying each day. How much time will you be able to manage each day? What other commitments do you have during your study period? Plan your revision to ensure that you use your time to best advantage. When is the best time of day for you—morning, afternoon or evening? Can you do more reading at particular times? This will help you to plan broadly what you intend to do, although you should always make sure that you leave it flexible enough to adapt later if circumstances change. There is more about this in our pages of Top Tips for Studying and on Getting Organised to Study.

Look after yourself during study and exam time

You will be able to work better if you eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of sleep. This applies both during your exam period, and when you are revising. Surviving on junk food is not a good idea. For more about the importance of diet and sleep, see our pages on Food, Diet, and Nutrition and The Importance of Sleep. It is also a good idea to take regular exercise when studying. A brisk walk, or more vigorous exercise, will get your blood moving and ensure that you are better able to concentrate. There is more about this in our page on The Importance of Exercise.

Vary your revision techniques

They say that variety is the spice of life, and it certainly helps to improve your studying. Always doing the same thing, for example, reading over your notes on a subject, is likely to be quite dull. Spice up your revision period by trying different exercises and techniques. Alternatives to reading your notes over include:

  • Doing practice papers and questions to test your understanding (your teachers or tutors will probably be very happy to mark these for you if you ask them nicely);
  • Drawing mind maps or other summary diagrams to test what you can remember, and then checking them against your notes. Notice where you have left out detail, or there are gaps, and go back and review those areas; and
  • Organising a discussion group with some friends, to consider a particular issue or area. There are more ideas on our page: Revision Skills.

Make a friend in every class.

Find a few people you can contact from each of your classes if you have a homework question or had to miss class (and do the same for them!).  Then when it comes time to study for exams, you'll already have a study group.

Don’t let a bad grade keep you down.

A rough start to the semester doesn’t have to sink your GPA. Take proactive steps by checking your grades regularly online and getting a tutor if you need one.

Study a little every day.

Cramming Spanish vocabulary for a quiz might work in the short-term, but when comes time to study for midterms, you’ll be back at square 1. You might remember the vocab list long enough to ace the quiz, but reviewing the terms later will help you store them for the long haul.

Look over your notes each night to make sure you've got it.

Fill in details, edit the parts that don’t make sense, and star or highlight the bits of information that you know are most important. Interacting with your notes will help you remember them. You can also use Homework Help to get your questions answered 24/7.

Use class time wisely.

Is your teacher finished lecturing, but you still have 10 minutes of class left? Get a jump on your chemistry homework while it’s still fresh in your mind. Or use the time to ask your teacher about concepts that were fuzzy the first time.

Get real.

When you’re looking at the homework you have to get done tonight, be realistic about how long things actually take. Gauging that reading a history chapter will take an hour and writing a response will take another 30 minutes will help you plan how you spend your time.

Learn how to create a distraction-free zone.

A study on workplace distractions found that it takes workers an average of 25 minutes to return to what they were working on pre-interruption. Try turning off your phone notifications or blocking Twitter (temporarily) on your computer so you can concentrate on the homework tasks at hand.

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