During my time at University I learned a lot about time-management and how to get the most out of studying. It took me three intense hard-working years, but I finally proved to myself that one can go from poor grades to receive a First-class Degree while at the same time have a super busy schedule participating in sports, voluntary research, and social activities.
There were times when all I wanted to do was cry and give up. I questioned myself and didn´t understand why I put myself through the agony. My body even reacted physically to stress. Nevertheless, it has been such a valuable experience, and I´m left with useful tools and habits that I use both personally and professionally. I also had to learn how to say no, but the reward has been so fulfilling and I don´t regret anything. The following tips have been my to-go lifesavers when preparing for my exams.
♥ Take notes by hand. Call me old fashioned, but I love writing. These days, putting pen to paper is rare. I am the type of student who prefers pen and notebooks because I see it as an advantage to take longhand notes. It forces me to be more selective and requires that extra processing of material. Of course, it´s nice to have notes on the laptop - but I´ve found it very effective when I rewrite them, brainstorm, and mind-map.
♥ Regular breaks is key. Whenever you find yourself unmotivated to study, allow yourself a break and do something that you enjoy. Because truth is, our attention span (the amount of time we can concentrate on a task without becoming distracted) is limited. Taking study breaks are essential for achieving productivity, success, and a positive outlook on the future. The fact is that cram sessions and all-nighters might seem like a good idea when there´s just to much to do - unfortunately, it might lead to health concerns such as anxiety and insomnia. No thanks.
♥ Work in time blocks. From personal experience, working in time blocks combined with effective breaks help us achieve our study goals. Especially when we have a mile-long to-do list. Few people can tackle everything at once and get things done. What worked for me at University was to set my timer for 30-45 minutes of focused work, followed by a 5-10 minute break. Unfortunately, studying like this brings monotony. But, you´ll thank yourself later for the hard work!
During my revision for exams, I planned my days by hour (e.g., from 08:00-16:00), and after a certain time - I put it all away, went out and did something fun. Other times, I made time for exercise in between the time blocks. Because we all know how exercising works wonder for mind, body, and soul.
In addition to these, there are other great study tips out there: from getting a good night´s sleep and changing environment, to healthy eating habits, fresh air, and self-pampering. I understand that we all have different ways of learning and revising for our exams - still, I hope these tips inspired you. Good luck with yours!