avatarTony Lu

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How to ACTUALLY Study For Your Exams - You’ve Been Doing it Wrong!

I know every student reading this has done it before.

Gone to the library with a group of two to five friends, brought along all your notes, sat down, and then just ended up chatting and gossiping together for two hours straight, getting a total of about 10 minutes of studying done.

I know I’ve definitely been guilty of doing this before.

Well, I’m here to tell you today, that that is simply not studying at all.

It’s not studying, because you never actually get any studying done!

Instead, in today’s article I’m going to be giving you two main tips on how to ACTUALLY study for your exams, and how to actually prepare yourself for them so that you can get the grades you’re wanting to get.

Ready?

Let’s get started.

Tip #1: Study By Yourself

Unfortunately, as we all know, studying with a group of friends often leads to none of you getting anything done.

The second one of you pulls out a phone, someone else is sure to follow suit.

And then it leads to a domino effect.

Or, you’ll all get so easily engrossed into a long conversation about what you’re going to do over the weekend or in the holidays, that you completely forget why you’re all together in the first place.

Sure, I get it.

Studying together with your friends makes it a lot more fun and bearable.

You might even look forward to it.

However, if you’re really serious about getting your exam preparation done, and you’re really serious about getting the right grades, you need to be studying on your own.

Trust me, I used to love going out to the library and studying with a group of friends too.

However, it was blatantly obvious to me how little we were actually getting done, and that I actually needed to study on my own, in my own time.

I realized I wasn’t actually able to understand whatever I was trying to learn, and that if I didn’t take my studying seriously, I wasn’t going to get the results I wanted.

It’s absolutely normal to find it boring or tedious, but doing things that are boring, or that you don’t want to do, is a necessary part of life if you want to achieve your goals.

Plug in some music if that helps you, sit yourself down in a place with little distractions, and get to work!

However, I do realize that sometimes, both you and a friend you have can be genuinely focused on getting work done, and are able to study together.

It’s Okay to Study with One Friend, and One Friend Only

If you genuinely think the case above applies to you, and you genuinely think that you could study well with another goal-oriented friend of yours, then I’d say it’s okay to study with one other friend, at the maximum.

Don’t go to two or three friends, because then it gets hard to manage and stay focused.

I also had a friend who was like this, and over the summer break in between graduating high school and starting university, he and I were learning calculus together in order to prepare for our university courses; as it’d been a while since we’d touched math.

He knew a little more about math at the time than I did, and having him on a call as we went through the online courses together really did make a big difference, as it not only made my studying more fun since I had someone to talk to, but it also meant that he was there to help explain any concepts I couldn’t understand, provided he had a better grasp of it (which was true, more often than not).

Without him there to study with, looking back, I highly doubt I would’ve had the motivation to be studying calculus throughout my summer break, or would’ve been able to understand everything I was being taught.

So, try to get the majority of your studying done by yourself, but studying with a maximum of one other friend can also be an effective strategy if you’re both goal oriented, and can help each other out in the process.

Tip #2: Practice, Practice, Practice

The other tip that I can give you to help you study for your exams as effectively as possible is to spend the majority of your time doing practice problems and practice exams.

Don’t worry about your notes, don’t worry about watching lecture videos (unless you don’t understand the concept at all), and don’t worry about reading through the textbook.

All you have to do, is practice problems and practice exam papers.

Doing this is going to allow you to get comfortable and familiar with sitting the exam in similar conditions, and get you very familiar with the styles of questions you’re going to get in the exam.

Bonus Tip

Another popular technique to use is to actually go and find someone else who might be struggling with these concepts you’re learning (which there’s probably no shortage of in your class), and teach/explain it to them.

Do this one-on-one, and make sure you really take the time to help them understand everything.

Not only is doing this going to allow you to help someone else find success in the exam you’re both studying for, but it’s also going to strengthen and solidify your own understanding of the concept.

This is because trying to explain it to someone who might be struggling to understand it, and answering their questions is going to force you to think about it from different angles and perspectives as well, improving your own overall understanding of the idea.

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re not able to explain or teach a concept well to a person who’s struggling to understand it, chances are, you probably don’t understand it well enough yet either.

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Wrapping Up

I hope these tips have been helpful in helping you get an idea of what your studying should actually look like, because I’d hate for you to fall short of receiving the results you expected, or to fail to reach your goals, just because no one was ever there to help you study effectively.

Stay focused, don’t waste your time, and all the best for your upcoming exams!

I’m rooting for you.

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