Study tips for students: Treat studies like a 9 to 5 job and more

When you truly understand a concept, memorisation naturally follows. Help kids try to understand the core of what they're learning and build upon that, versus memorising for each test and forgetting afterwards. This will also help them master the final exams.

By Karishmma V Mangal

A question that probably lingers in the mind of every student is “How do I perfect my exam preparation?” There is no definite answer to this question because every individual learns differently at a varying pace. However, some practices are absolutely beneficial to all and these are the ones that every parent of a student gearing up for exams must encourage them to follow.

1. Treat studies like a 9 to 5 job

Encourage them to treat studying like a 9-5 job, so when they unwind in the evening, they won’t feel guilty. Also by implementing a routine, they will teach themselves that these hours are meant for activities relevant to studies like revising for an exam, doing required reading or working on assignments/projects. Give an hour’s lunch break like at a work day and then wrap up at 5 pm. This can also help reinforce a healthy sleeping pattern which will improve memory.

2. Understand versus memorise

When you truly understand a concept, memorisation naturally follows. Help kids try to understand the core of what they’re learning and build upon that, versus memorising for each test and forgetting afterwards. This will also help them master the final exams.

3. Listen to recordings

For those moments when one can’t conceivably have their nose stuck in a book, while you’re walking, driving, exercising, folding laundry, consider listening to a recording that complements studying. Whether it’s recordings of a professor’s lectures, podcast on the topic, or taping oneself reading over notes, they can plug in the earphones and listen up. This is especially helpful for auditory learners who do best when they hear (and not read!) information.

4. Quiz night with course-mates

Now this tip might only work for particular courses as not every subject or degree has pragmatic answers in exams and coursework. However, where course-mates have all had to read or memorise information for an exam, they can get together and have a quiz night. They can create a set of relevant questions and answers, get into teams and quiz each other. Hopefully, the competitive streak will help them remember information and also have fun.

5. Pamper to keep them motivated

It could be chocolate, 10 minutes of social media or television or maybe a nap, the choice is theirs. When one has something to look forward to, one tends to be more dedicated to finishing that task. No cheating though.

6. Know when to stop studying

Within 12 to 24 hours of the test, it’s time to stop studying. They’re not going to learn a lot of new content. The likelihood is much higher that they’re going to stress themselves out and get confused. For the last-minute learner, flashcards can be a good resource. They can earn a few more points on test day, and it’s a much healthier thing to do than starting on page one of the textbook.

7. Fuel the brain with healthy snacks

It cannot be stressed enough how important this factor is. If your child eats heavy, unhealthy foods late at night, their brain isn’t going to be in prime form. As such, it’s especially important to factor food into their study routine! Fruits and nuts are particularly good choices during munch time. And fuel goes beyond what you’re putting in your mouth. Getting enough quality sleep and taking some time to recharge is also super important. After all, what’s good for the body is good for the mind.

In conclusion, one simple fact that students tend to forget is that relaxation is not a luxury. It is a necessity, especially while preparing for examinations or your brain will be in a daze. Studying can be mentally exhausting and if the brain doesn’t get some rest, it will burn out. But relaxation should not become procrastination. Ensure that kids relax enough to re-energise the brain.

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(The writer is Director and Trustee, Thakur International School-Cambridge.)

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