Divide your study time in short periods
Studies show that it’s better to control the time you dedicate to your revisions by studying during shorter periods of time. The ideal is to revise for 30 minutes and then take a quick break. It has been proven that you assimilate information much easier when it arrives in short and repetitive bursts rather than a long and tedious one.
Design a study routine
Set yourself a study timetable and stick to it! If you start your revisions in a disorganized way, you’ll probably end up doing an all-nighter or finish revising in the early hours of the day, when sleep and tiredness jeopardize our concentration capacities. Set yourself achievable goals and reasonable hours.
Create summary notes on flash cards
Don’t believe too much in the technique that consists in highlighting everything you read. Highlighting doesn’t help you remember if you don’t do it several times and you will only remember the information in the order it comes in. Instead, try to make diagrams and small summaries on flash cards: this will force you to reformulate the information you’ve read, and you will remember better.
Stay away from the possible distractions
These distractions can come in various different forms. On your blacklist, you should put Facebook, your mobile phone and the TV but feel free to include anything that you feel might disturb you in your revisions. You have to try and stay away from them during your study times (remember, they’re only 30 minutes!)
Prepare your study material before anything
Having everything ready means that you don’t have to get up to go looking for something that is missing whilst you’re already studying. Moreover, associating these objects with studying means that every time you’ll see them you’ll enter in the revision dynamic more easily.
For each session, set yourself a goal
Choose a theme to study for each 30 minute-period and revise it. It’s much easier to start revising when you know what you have to do and when. For that, you need to read your lesson once to create a mental map of all the themes included in it and then you can focus on each one of them.
Avoid learning by heart
You need to make the information you read yours. Link it to some things you have experienced, reformulate it with your own words and use examples you know.
Practice, a lot
If you have the possibility, try practicing with past exams and quizzes on the theme you’re studying. It’s definitely not a waste of time, even though it may seem like it. It will help you evaluate your progress and spot some possible mistakes that you need to work on.
Explain the lesson to someone else
The fact to explain in your own words what you’ve learned is possibly the best study advice. It will benefit you in 2 ways. First, reformulating the lesson is a way to mentally go over what you’ve studied. Second, it will be a way to auto-evaluate you and detect some topics that you thought you knew but, in the end, give you trouble.