We have all been there. Isolating yourself to avoid distractions, losing a lot of sleep, and drinking six straight cups of coffee, just to avoid flunking a test that covers a hundred pages. International schools in Manila expect the best from their students, so failure isn’t an option.
Examinations measure how much you have learned in school, and identify which subjects you excel or struggle at. Schools follow a curriculum that was designed with student development in mind. They have been proven to work, but schools can only do so much; the rest, you have to do by yourself.
Case in point: your studying. The instructor may be really good at what he does and delivers his lessons masterfully, but he can’t spoon feed everything to the students. Some things are purposely left to be figured out by the students, for this is also an integral part of learning.
Some students study for hours, but still have difficulty in picking up information. How much you learn isn’t determined by how long you study, but by how effective your method is.
If you want to improve your technique, then here are some tips you can follow to study more effectively:
Follow a Schedule Consistently When Studying
Doctors recommend drinking small amounts of water throughout the day rather than gulping an entire liter once a day.
The same concept applies to studying. It’s much better to take an hour or two after school to review the lessons rather than wait until the examinations and study for six hours straight. You’ll end up burning yourself out.
By allocating a small time to study after school, you’re not only keeping your mind fresh, you’re also absorbing information more effectively. You’ll eventually get used to this, and studying for an hour daily will become second nature before long.
It doesn’t matter if you have an exam the next day or not. Studying daily is better than studying for a day.
Master the Basics
Going over the basics for the tenth time lacks flair, but multiplication would not have been invented if addition didn’t exist in the first place.
Being able to fully understand the fundamentals of a subject essentially guarantees that you can learn the more advanced concepts with relative ease. When there’s a topic you can’t quite understand, there’s a good chance that you might have skipped over something from the previous lesson.
Needless to say, you should always get back to the basics from time to time. You’ll find that more often than not, the most complicated problems can be solved with the most basic techniques.
The brightest students from Manila international schools and colleges know this, and they are thriving because of it.
Bounce Ideas with Classmates
“Study group” does not mean meeting at a coffee place to sit around in a circle and read books quietly. The purpose of studying as a group is to learn from your friends, and let them learn from you at the same time.
Sharing ideas — not answers to workbooks, for example, is a good studying technique. One classmate could present a hypothetical situation, and everyone else is tasked to present his or her solution to it. From there, other classmates are free to criticize the other answers, or add further ideas.
This method helps you have a grasp of concepts more easily, and you might even enjoy yourself too much while developing a solution with your friends.
How do you maximize the time you have studying? Simple: Take some time off studying.
When faced with a particularly complicated subject, don’t try to study all of it in one sitting. Even if you employ your best study techniques, your brain will fail if you don’t give it a rest.
Take breaks in between long study sessions. It could be a nap, a snack, or even a video game — as long as it doesn’t require you to think heavily, and as long as you’re disciplined enough to avoid extending it for another 15 minutes.
Revisit Old Examinations
Teachers return exams so students can not only use them as a point of reference for the next ones, but also so that they can revisit them from a different point of view after they have learned new concepts.
Previous exams are an excellent source of practice. It’s different from workbooks in the sense that it was your instructor who prepared it, which already gives you an idea on how tests from that particular instructor are designed.
Additionally, some difficult questions from the last test may be easier to solve the second time around, or you could find something in common between previous and current lessons.
Studying does not have to take excessive time and effort. The key to absorbing more information efficiently is to maintain a study habit, and to learn everything about a topic as much as possible before advancing. It’s also good to study with classmates and return to previous exams, as they might be able to provide the answers you need to fully understand the lesson.
To keep the mind refreshed, breaks should be taken in between long study hours. By practicing this, the brain stays at a constant level of learning ability, and will prevent burnouts and mental blocks.