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How to Study Effectively for Exams

Success in exams isn’t about the person with the highest IQ or intelligent and vast a person is. Success is about how well you can combine a technique with what you know. In this case, how you can combine techniques that would help you study effectively for exams.

We were always told to study for exams as that would guarantee success, but we were never taught how.

Now there are many ways to study, and some might be peculiar to different people but the two techniques I would be introducing you to are bound to produce results.

They are the Active Recalling and Repetition Revision Methods.

1. Active Recalling

For active recalling as the name connotes, is being able to actively recall whatever information that you have learnt. This constant retrieval of information helps students to store information better and help move information from the short-term memory to long-term memory. When you are able to actively recall a piece of information, this would help during exams especially when asked multichoice questions.

One can actively recall information by asking related questions

To practice active recall, you have to start by first learning the information. To do this, you can read the textbook or watch a lecture, while doing this, you can try jotting down or writing in your own language. After you take notes on the information, put away your notes and try to recall whatever you just learned. If you aren’t able to recall the information, you simply go back to learning the information again. Then, try to recall the information.

Below are a list of things to consider or put in place to boost your active recall

  • Short Quizzes: Every time you write notes from the lecture, spend like 10 minutes quizzing yourself by asking “Why”, “What”, How”
  • Flashcards: Instead of writing traditional notes, you can try making flashcards out of your lecture slides. It;s kinda simple, To make the flashcards, just a paper, write out the keywords and concepts from the lecture. Try to fill out the other side of the flashcards just off of your memory. After, you can fill in the blanks with your lecture slides or textbook.
  • Group study: You can also discuss with a study partner, this will surely boost your studying for bulky syllabus like biology, zoology e.t.c
  • Teaching: Many actually do not know, that you tend to know more the more you can teach it to others… When I can, I like contributing to the class group chats or helping friends learn concepts. When I’m teaching, I’m usually only going off of my memory and I explain it in the simplest terms. This helps on the test because you learn to answer questions in your own words and may also discover new things. It also makes it clear when you have gaps in your learning! What’s more, teaching is also like a revision period.
  • Summary: After you have completed studying or watching the lecture, make a summary of what you learnt in your note.
  • Create Something New: The way to create something new is by relating what you read with practical or your own examples, this will assist you to remember quickly when you need it. By this, you are actively involved in what you read.
  • Practice Questions: Lecturers often give questions for practice at the end of lectures, it’s cool to always try them out without checking your notes, after all, getting it wrong means you have not understood it well, so read it again, or maybe we need repetition.

2. Spaced Repetition

Spaced Repetition is the process of dividing and spacing revision into specific intervals.

Spaced Repetition is an effective technique that helps prevent memory decay. When we stop retrieving information, we start to forget them so to prevent that, we must constantly retrieve them from our long term memory.

So here an effective method that every student should know when studying for exams.

Repetition Revision Method

Now we have the Repetition Revision Method which is a form of Spaced Repetition. Believe it or not, before you can pass you need to shave studied the material at least 3 times.

For example, let’s say you have 80 days before you exams and you have 4 courses to read, some might divide the 80 days between the 4 courses and use 20 days to study each. This is not effective because then, you would have only studied it once. So here’s a step by step process that would help.

RECOMMENDED: 5 Things Nobody Told You About Studying 

Sample Study Schedule

Let’s say we have 80days to exams (please do adjust it to any number of days you would be using)
Days: 80 days

First Phase

The first thing you do is half the days you would be using, and divide it amongst the courses. I.e.
• 80/2= 40 days
• 40 days÷ 4 subjects = 10 days
This means we have 10 days each to study each subject thoroughly.

Second Phase

We basically half the remaining days by 2 and divide it by the same number of courses. I.e.
• 40 days ÷ 2= 20 days
• 20 days ÷ 4 subjects= 5 days.
This means that from day 40-45, you would be revising the first subject you read the first time. This would help the brain process and store whatever information better.

Third phase

We basically do the same thing which would give us 10 days but instead of dividing the days, you remove two days from it and use 8days to study, which would leave a total of 2 days each for your revision. Then, you repeat the same thing for the remaining ten days. This might look like it is split into four layers, but it is actually three

Now, this would be the third layer of learning which would also be a third repetition. You’d use it to just skim your materials and ready any extra information.

The last two days would be for resting before your initial exam starts.

When you do use it, you’ll realize how much more effective it is especially when studying for exams.
This can also be designed for your specific number of days and courses.

Instead of cramming all your revision from chapter 1 to 26 of your science syllabus, you can start early by adding spaced repetition and active recall into your study plans which would lead to academic success.

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A. A. Badmus

A. A. Badmus is a seasoned Educational Consultant that assist students in processing admission into schools in India and Nigeria. Currently studying Nursing at OAU Ile-Ife and passionate about serving accurate and timely information to admission seekers as well as students at large. I write about Education, Tech and Health.

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