Children and high school students are probably one of the most affected groups of the world’s current crisis — with thousands dealing with school closures, not seeing friends, no sport, no music lessons… My heart really feels for them having to see the world go through something like this at such a young age.
And for teenagers, particularly those more senior who are in the middle of an important school year — they have the added worry of what’s going to happen to the rest of the school year? And exams? And university/college applications?!
Who knows is the answer at this stage, but things will find a way of getting worked out. And in what I think we can call good news, my impression is that schools and universities are cognisant of the uncertainty and pressure students are dealing with and are here to support them.
And ALSO, I do think this is an opportunity (for all of us) to perhaps reassess and take stock. As many are saying (and I totally agree), we have, in all of this mess, been given the gift of time.
This is a rare gift in the student world of jam-packed schedules, rushing from one activity to another while also trying to study and then at some point prepare for exams!
So below, we’ve set out 3 really simple but really important study activities you can do now. We’ve chosen these three because they have the best time investment:reward ratio. In other words, having a go at these now will pay off massively when the time comes to start preparing for exams.
1. Look at a past year’s exam paper
This one of our all time favourite study techniques. Sadly though it’s something that students often leave too late in their exam study preparation, which is counterproductive, because it’s something you should do as early as possible.
Having a look at a past year’s exam will give you the BEST idea of what YOUR exam is going to be like. It will give you a really good sense of things like — how long is the exam? What type of questions are likely to be asked? What is the format of the exam going to be? (short answers, long answers, both?!)
You should be able to get hold of a past exam from your same curriculum off the net, or if you can’t find one ask your teacher. Taking a squiz at one and even trying to answer a few questions will be an invaluable time investment that will pay off big time when exams roll around.
2. Make some Subject Maps
Subject Maps solve two of the biggest obstacles that trip up teens while they’re studying: 1 — Where do I start? And 2 — What do I study next?
To make your Subject Maps, all you need to do is write down every topic you need to know for your exam for each subject. A list is fine. Do whatever works for you! Hopefully you will have been given some kind of curriculum guideline document at the beginning of the year that sets out what you were going to be learning this year. Use this or something similar to make a Subject Map for each subject.
This small time investment now will set you up SO WELL when it’s time to start studying for exams, because you’ll know EXACTLY what topics you need to cover and understand. This will keep your exam study ON TRACK, which means better efficiency and lower stress levels!
3. Watch some educational videos of stuff you don’t understand
When I was studying I remember the pressure of having so much content to get through that sometimes, I didn’t feel like I had the time to really sink my teeth into properly understanding something. What a mistake that was!
Your examiner is going to see right through any answer where you don’t actually know something that well. And really good marks come from showing the examiner that you do have an in depth understanding of a topic.
So with the gift of time upon us, now is a great time to set aside 30 minutes and let YouTube or Khan Academy guide you through a topic that you know you need to understand better.
So simple yet so important…
We can’t stress the EFFECTIVENESS and IMPORTANCE of these three exam study techniques. They’re such simple things to do, and yet they solve some of studying’s greatest problems. Things like getting overwhelmed, not knowing what to study and in what order, not knowing what types of questions the exam is going to throw at you.
And this is why so many students don’t get the marks they’re capable of — they’ve got the smarts but they haven’t learnt HOW to study in a way that makes them prepared to answer exam questions.
Well, these three super simple study techniques can go a SIGNIFICANT way to solving that problem.
And as always, we’re here to help — you don’t need to figure out this studying thing all on your own. So get in touch (clare@thestudygurus or where ever you follow us) if you’ve got a question — we love helping out one on one.
Stay safe and happy studying,
Clare & Chris
Photo credit: School photo created by drbotdean – www.freepik.com