The Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate exams are nearly here. The exam students will soon finish school and start studying on their own. This is a really important time that has a big impact on how well the exams will go in June. But it can be hard to stay focused and keep concentrating day after day.
Successful students have good study habits. Here are 8 top tips on how to be productive while studying.
Declutter Your Study Space
Your study space should be quiet, bright and comfortable. It should make you feel happy and inspired. Decide the best space in your house that will work for you. Then clear out as much clutter as possible. Decorate your space with a few of your favourite pictures or objects. Make sure that your chair and desk are comfortable and at the correct height as you will be spending a lot of time here.
Get Organised Before You Start
Gather up all the stationery you are going to need over the coming weeks. Avoid wasting time popping into the shops during your study periods. Treat yourself to some new pens, notebooks, cue cards, Post-It pads and highlighter pens. Chose a variety of bright colours to liven up your study space. These colours will also be useful for categorising and grouping topics while you study.
Make a Study Plan You Can Stick To
It is so important to make a plan before you start any studying. Work out how many days you have before the exams start. Plan which subjects you will study on each day. Vary things up so you don’t get fed up of one subject. Break down big topics into smaller chunks so you feel you are getting something completed in one study session.
Be realistic about how much you can do in the time you have. If there is too much, you may need to focus on the most important topics first. List everything and mark each with a priority – high, medium or low.
Start Early in The Day
You have your preparation done, so now you are ready to start a regular study routine. Generally it works best to start studying early in the day. Your energy will be high and it is easier to concentrate. If it helps, get some exercise beforehand but don’t spend too long in case you become side-tracked.
Some people prefer to study later in the day and into the evening. This is fine but remember it can really affect your quality of sleep, which will have a knock on effect for the days to come.
Put Distractions in Another Room
My 15 year old daughter told me to include this one! She said that if her phone is beside her, even on silent, she will be tempted to check it. So remove ANYTHING that will distract you. That may include technology and people! Music may help you study but be honest with yourself and only listen if it improves your concentration.
Make Notes and Test Yourself
Be active when you are studying. This means instead of just reading you are keeping your brain focussed by doing things such as:
- Highlighting key passages
- Making notes to summarise key points
- Making signs for your wall with key terminology or phrases
- Drawing a graphic for a Maths equation
- Creating quick reference notes on cue cards for the night before the exam
- Jotting down questions to test yourself at the end of a session or to recap next day
Can you think of some other ideas that will suit the way you work?
Eat Power Foods and Drink Water
Be smart about what you eat and drink during this study period. It may be tempting to eat comfort food and reward yourself with sugary or fatty snacks. But your focus and concentration is really affected by what you eat. You will also sleep better if you eat a healthy diet. Drink lots of water too during this time.
Try some of these healthy snack ideas:
- Blueberries, Dark Chocolate, Popcorn, Hummus, Avocado
- Peanut Power Balls, Granola Snack Bars
Save your favourite treats for your time off after studying.
Take Time Off and Sleep Well
Aim to study at the same time every day and then take breaks at the same time too. Plan your favourite activities with friends and family so you can completely switch off. This will help you wind down and sleep better. Get some exercise too.
Your Own Ideas
These tips will help you be productive with your study time. You might already have things that help you. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Remember, you only have to work hard for a few more weeks. So why not really go for it? And before you know it, the exams will be over and you will have the whole summer to enjoy. Best of luck!
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