When exams are looming, everyone needs good study habits. Try to develop the habit of studying over a period of time and it will become as natural as breathing!

  • Draw up a study timetable and a subject/topic hot list. Aim to have a clear target of what you want to achieve.
  • Try to develop coping skills to manage shortcomings such as lapses in concentration, a tendency to ‘learn off’ material that you don’t fully understand, the urge to learn too many things at once, etc.
  • Spread out tasks over short periods of time and take brief breaks every 20 minutes or so. It’s a good idea to include a reward to enjoy at the end of a long study session.
  • Follow daily routines such as studying at the same time each day and in the same place, with distractions switched off or removed. Some say it’s best to try to simulate exam conditions as much as possible in your study area and that we remember best under conditions that resemble those in which the original learning took place. However, others find they study better when they have music (or even the TV!) on in the background. Figure out which way works best for you.
  • Begin with something fairly difficult, even a topic you don’t like. Achievement boosts confidence and energy for the rest of the session.
  • Pose questions about the subject matter before, during, and at the end of a session. Self-test as you go along. Revision is an on-going process, not just a priority in the days before exams.
  • Know that question-answering techniques are a huge part of exam preparation. Ask for help from your teachers on how best to answer exam questions in each subject.
  • Study sample questions set by teachers (as well as previous exam questions) to ensure that the material you are learning can be applied to the types of questions that come up in exams.
  • Take part in occasional study groups with other students to discuss difficult aspects of a subject, to share knowledge and techniques, to teach one another and to inject extra motivation into your study. And remember it can be good fun!
  • Seek advice from a teacher or parents if stress sets in or problems arise. Parents have been there, done that, and know a lot more that you think!
  • Above all: don’t spend days drawing up elaborate plans. Find out what you have to do, how to do it, and then do it!