2017 Apr 18
Exams are just around the corner, for those sitting for London board examinations, and it doesn’t help that it’s aligned with Avurudhu to your dismay (kokis and visits from relations mean you get nothing done.) But here are a few tips to boost your productivity, because it’s never too late!
No, not your significant other, in terms of the more important thing in your life-your phone. Undoubtedly, your phone is the most distracting and it doesn’t help that it is accessorized with at least 5 incredibly time-consuming and addictive apps. As much as you tell yourself that you have control, you’re lying to yourself: you’re going to end up checking more than one Snapchat story and stalking more than one family member of your romantic interest on Instagram, and don’t even get me started on WhatsApp groups. It’s impossible to give your phone away to your parents or get rid of it, it’s an essential so the best option is to downgrade- get yourself a basic black and white Nokia and all your problems are solved! You can still text and call for emergencies and every time you have the urge to go online- you can’t. If that sounds too tragic for you, delete your Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook apps, trust me, it does wonders to your productivity when you realize your phone is now good-for-nothing you’d rather study.
Always have something to look forward to, for example, watch a movie after you finish studying a unit and doing a past paper, this way you’ll be productive in a short period of time and you won’t feel like you didn’t deserve the movie break. You’re giving yourself a treat for being productive and an incentive to study because reaching page 113 means you can watch an episode of Riverdale or watch Beauty and the Beast. An alternative to pro-longed breaks if you’re cramming and have a sweet tooth is edible treats, keep a bar of chocolate or whatever your poison is at the end of every chapter. When you’re stress-hungry, it works like a charm.
Study in Reverse
The misconception is that you should study for your first exam first. However, the most efficient way to do it in, is reverse. For example, if you have Biology, Literature, and History in that order, study History first because closer to the start of your exams you’ll only be reminded that Bio is in a week, 3 days, a day! So you won’t feel like studying anything other than what your first paper is on and you might just neglect the last subject because honestly, no one has enough energy to study after a paper for a whole different subject. So study History, then Literature and then Biology so it’ll be fresh in your mind and aligned with what everyone is talking about, and then the days before your other papers all you have to do is tap into that long term memory and lightly revise.
Timed schedules are outdated and ineffective
Avoid making your schedules according to times because that will only tire you out and appear demotivating. So even if you’re ‘studying’ for 5 hours, you would have only really studied a chapter and that too not very well. So instead schedule units, areas, chapters, past papers, so you’re ticking off actual subject content as opposed to hours.
Change your environment
Studying at home can be an absolute bore and it might even be distracting to see your bed, the fridge, the TV, they all provide you with opportunities to procrastinate. The best solution is to study at school, being in that atmosphere is almost an intangible force that urges you to study because you’re in an academic environment. If you prefer somewhere different, coffee shops are great: Tea Avenue, Coffee Bean, Black Cat Cafe, even places like the Swimming Club are very relaxing and welcoming to students.
Although school may treat us like identical lab rats, we really aren’t. Don’t be afraid to digress from your school/tuition notes and do what appeals to you, besides you’re the one sitting the exam. Youtube videos, animations, podcasts, record yourself reading out the notes and replay it instead of staring at your book repeatedly, teach others, get help from your peers, the world is truly your academic oyster. Don’t feel nervous that you might be studying the wrong thing, with a detailed syllabus beside you (which your teacher can provide or your examination board website offers) you can’t go wrong.
Exercise before you study (Exercise has both long and short-term effects on cognition. When you exercise, your body interprets the physical stress as you fighting or fleeing an enemy and activates your sympathetic nervous system. In response, your brain is flooded with extra blood, rich in oxygen and nutrients, to make what it thinks could be life-saving decisions. It’s even been demonstrated that exercise can lead to neurogenesis, or the creation of new brain cells–a process previously thought impossible. In addition, a brain structure called the hippocampus is stimulated during exercise. Research has shown that the hippocampus is important for reasoning and memory. Besides short-term boosts in cognition, regular exercise can actually slow down age-related shrinkage of the hippocampus. Another benefit of exercise is its role as a stress-reducer. Stress can be a huge hindrance to focus and memory formation (thanks to the hormone cortisol), and unfortunately, college can be extremely stressful. Luckily, exercise is a cheap and easy way to curb some of the stress associated with day-to-day life, ensuring you can focus on learning what you need to for your classes.)
The spelling of the word itself is perhaps the most difficult part of this, making the mnemonic doesn’t have to be that bad. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone except you. For Trigonometry a popular one is All Silver Tea Cups for All Sin Tea Cups, but you can make your own one, preferably one that’s humorous, including names of people you know, places you are familiar with, Ashanee Swam To Calcutta, anything you’d remember!
Listening to Music
This is perhaps the most controversial as several studies contradict each other, but most of those contradictions are on the most effective type of music to aid concentration. I suppose to each their own, but some examples are classical music and video game soundtracks, as the music is said to be designed to provide a stimulating background that doesn’t distract your concentration. A major DO-NOT is listening to music to which you know the lyrics to, your mind is then more focused on singing along or trying to remember the lyrics.
Exams suck no matter how prepared you are, the anxiety and the stress can eat you up, but knowing your stuff can reduce the intensity to which you feel anxious and help you feel in control. So try some of these tips out and good luck, may the odds be ever in your favor!