We can all agree, having fun in the sun is far more enjoyable than sticking your nose in the textbooks.  But sadly the semester is reaching it’s end, which forecast the speeding arrival of the exam period. The exams are upon us, it is now that you have to find a way to manage your study load. But how you ask, the answer is simple, you need to become focus, organised and say no to procrastination.  We have a few suggestions that should get you through the exams with flying colours.

1. Become A-type Organiser

Being an organised individual may make you seem boring, but the honest truth is that organised people know when and where to spend their time.  Meaning; they know what they need to study, how many actual study hours that will be and how often they need to take a break.

Break your workload into 30 min intervals for your study hours. Once the number of hours becomes clear, you will be able to start creating your new study schedule around your active student activities and your student job.  It is important to study everyday as regular memorizing techniques can help you study faster and more effective, especially in short, but regular intervals, thus the 30 mins.   Consider a short 7 min break between your 30 mins and once every 2 hours you maybe go for a walk to clear your mind.  There are many studies to support that quick focused dedicated studies can heeled far better results than studying for hours at a time.  Booking off an entire weekend should not have to be the case, this often  happens because of our procrastination.

Stop procrastinating, become organised and know where to spend your time on what

2. Ask Questions.

It is essential that you ask questions!  There are no dumb questions as you can be assured there are at least two other students in your class that are wondering the same thing.  Be the gutsy one and ask, don’t settle for an answer that doesn’t actually clarify your questions.  If you have fallen far behind or are struggling with a particular subject you should consider joining a study group.  Study Groups are miracle workers as they are free and ensure a far better success than you could ever thought.  It is however essential that you keep focus with your study group.

Before you start, make a list of the chapters you need to get through, ensure you realize the amount of hours these chapters will actually take.  Meaning they don’t just take 3 min a chapter, but rather 2 hours a chapter.

3. Have a Wake-up & Bed time

You will be surprise just how much you can get done before your normal wake-up time, especially if it’s 9.  My brother use to start his studies as early as 5am, granted he did an especially difficult degree with a ton of classes;)  But the gist is that if you feel the days are too short then you need to get up earlier.  The days are long enough, if you spend your time wisely by being organised you will be exhausted by the end of the day, not to mention that you did everything you wanted.

Training your brain to wake up and go to sleep at a specific time will also train your brain to what is expected from it.  The hours before 12 midnight are more important for sleep than the early morning hours.  Thus it is best to go to bed and wake up earlier than you most probably would like.

Waking up earlier will simply give you the time to catch up with your studies and ensure that you stay ahead.  If this year has been a bit of a rut, then improve by simply waking up earlier.  It is so simple and it makes a massive difference to your time management.

4. Take your breaks and find your rewards

Your brain needs time to process information, we all do.  Some brains are faster than others, but all brains need to relax, sleep and eat.  Make sure that you use your breaks in a positive and effective manner. Meaning don’t go and start a brand new Netflix series.  Instead clear your mind, find your focus, consider some exercise to get the energy flowing again.

Breaks are important, but they can easily become a negative distraction that takes way longer.  It is for this reason that I used to use an egg timer.  Every 30 min I took my first 2 mins to rescan what I just did in the 30 min interval. The remaining 5 mins to clear my mind, check my facebook, make a coffee.  Once back at my desk I would spend another 2 min and go through what I previously did and then only continue towards my next 30 min interval.  These cycles of 4 between every long-ish break (30 min rewards) worked well to ensure a productive and effective 2 hour study session.

Instead of an egg timer you can also install a timer plugin on your computer.  Consider a timer app/plugin that also locks you out of distracting websites, such as twitter, instagram and facebook.

A common timer is the Pomodoro method timer

5. Consider a new space

Changing your study space can also help to refocus your mind and give you a new set of energy.  Consider the environment that you are surrounding yourself with, it is loud, distracting, noisy…this is a bad study space and you should move. You may even found benefit from moving your study space, even if it’s not distracting.  It’s difficult to explain, but a change in surroundings bring a change in mind.

Use your time wisely!

The key to your timing success will be to use every available moment to get some information in your head.  Some students read through all their summaries before going to bed, or make postage notes on their bathroom mirror, making rhymes as they brush their teeth.  There are no moment too short to recall and recall again.  

Recalling information is what your studies are all about  

The exams are a short but intense period of time.  We all struggle with the test anxiety, managing our time, keeping our jobs and being successful in our studies.  But through focus, organisations and the correct memorizing techniques you should be able to find the time to get through all your classes and notes, in time for the exams.

Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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