making the best out of studying - useful study tips that will minimise exam stress
by zaakirah mohamed

As we are approaching our third terms exams and nearing the fourth term many learners and parents are anxious about studying towards these exams. In order to benefit the most out of our studying time this article will provide you with some helpful tips.

One of the biggest downfalls most of us are at fault for is procrastination. Unfortunately, that adds to our stress and anxiety as the time for exams draws closer. Thus it is vital to prioritize and plan ahead. There are free online calendars that make this easy and very useful or alternatively you can draw up a weekly calendar. The next step would be to find a place that is conducive to studying. This should be a place where there are limited distractions, that is comfortable and where you can control interruptions. It helps to study at a time when you are most productive, this varies with each person as one person may be more productive in the morning and another may be in the afternoon.

These studying tips will help you get more out of class handouts:

  • If it's on the board, write it down.
  • If it's on a handout, take notes in the margins. Don't rewrite information that's already been prepared for you in a handout. Instead, add notes to yourself and clarifications the teacher offers in the margins.
  • Write down definitions and examples. Pay special attention to definitions and examples that illustrate and explain new concepts.
  • Don't try to write down everything the teacher says but rather the main points or what is being emphasized. Aim for notes that paraphrase the main concepts. This means you should write only the main points in your own words. Mind maps are also useful-make a 1page map of the section further summarizing your written summary especially including key words, diagrams, and acronyms. This will give you a one page view of all the important information that you need.
  • Make up symbols and abbreviations. This can be fun, plus you'll save time when you use your own shorthand system for taking notes. Creating an acronymic sentence is a good strategy to use when you have to remember information in a certain order. An acronymic sentence is a sentence that is created using the first letter of each piece of information to be remembered.
  • Review your study notes. Students who review their notes the same day they take them—even for just five minutes—remember more than students who don't look at their class notes until they're studying for a test.
  • Knowing your work well

Some of the strategies used to testing oneself when one has done studying are

  • Rote Learning / Parrot Fashion
  • Preparing Questions by doing previous papers or making your own question paper
  • Preparing Multiple Choice Questions
  • Preparing Essay Questions: These questions assess your mastery of themes and overall ideas.

Managing exam anxiety is a concern for some people. A certain amount of nervousness is normal as it allows one’s adrenaline to flow which causes you to be more focused at the task at hand. However, when exam anxiety becomes uncontrollable this has a negative impact as one may possibly “blank out”. Thus it helps when you feel that you have prepared sufficiently as you will enter the exams with positive frame of mind and ultimately decrease the panic about exams. It is important to work on techniques that will help you to manage your stress. If anxiety during your exam is getting the best of you it is vital to seek help.