Top tips to ace your exams
Be honest: how good are you at studying? Are you a ‘chain-yourself-to-your-desk’ type of person, or are you helpless to the siren calls of Netflix?
Whether you need to increase your study quality or quantity, there’s always room for improvement. We asked business student, Adecco's ‘CEO for a month’ and founder of tutoring company Bing’s Academy John Huang for his sure-fire tips for top grades.
Listen to music
The importance of having a good playlist can’t be understated. It can help you focus and keep you relaxed, meaning you can study for longer.
But what makes the best playlist? Personally, songs that work best are generally those that have limited vocals and a slow beat, such as lo-fi music (my favourites are this Spotify playlist, this YouTube music and the music from the Calm app). It can’t be blasting either, otherwise I can’t concentrate on what I’m reading. But don’t take my word for it – experiment with different music and see what works best for you.
Break down tasks
Striving for lofty and unrealistic goals is setting yourself up for failure. You’ll inevitably feel terrible when you don’t achieve them, which will affect your productivity and lead to even less study!
Instead, break your goals down into smaller tasks. Ask yourself what you need to do to complete it, and separate these actions into week-by-week steps. You’re much more likely to succeed if you chip away at it in your own pace!
Limit your distractions
In news shocking to no-one, social media’s constant temptation makes it difficult to concentrate on studying. Luckily, you can survive without constantly checking your phone, and turning off social media can do wonders for boosting your productivity levels.
But because that’s easier said than done, there are many apps and extensions that can help you. For instance, StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that restricts the amount of time you spend on certain sites like Facebook and YouTube, and SelfControl is a web app that blocks your personal blacklist for a set period of time.
Get enough sleep
No matter what you’re studying, you’ll need to be able to retain and recall content. This proves difficult without enough sleep! If you’re not getting at least six hours of shut eye, I’d suggest you revisit your sleeping habits.
Sleep definitely affects my concentration levels during exams and helps when I have to think outside the box. As always, doing regular exercise and eating properly are critical components that can’t be overlooked if you want to succeed.
One of the hardest things about studying is getting started. I used to think of every excuse under the sun to delay the inevitable. But, once I do begin, the ball starts rolling pretty quickly.
Again, there are some great apps that help with discipline and taking the first step. They include Habitica and Forest, which gamify learning and make study more manageable. UTS also provides enormous support for their students and if you need some guidance.
Know your purpose
When you’re feeling really reluctant, it helps to think about why you’re doing this in the first place. For me, it’s all about studying to learn as much as I can, and I remind myself I genuinely like the challenge, as it will open more doors in my life.
However, everyone is motivated by different things, so it’s up to you to find your drive and passion. You need to decide for yourself if you want to make studying a priority.