Exam time is coming up. Are you feeling ready? Here’s Access Learning’s list of the top 6 things you (or your teen) can do to help prepare!
1. Find your study space
Where do you learn best? In the library? At your kitchen table? At a desk in your bedroom? If you don’t know already, do some testing to figure out where you are most comfortable studying. Some people need quiet isolation in order to get work done. Others want people around so they can ask questions and possibly have someone to take breaks with. Some like music playing, some prefer silence, others like studying in a group. And remember, depending on what subject you’re learning and the type of exam you’re preparing for, your study environment may need to change. You’re not going to prepare for your clarinet playing exam the same way you’d get ready for a math test!
2. Eat nutritious food and drink lots of water
This is advice that you likely hear all the time; eat good food, drink lots of water, you’ll feel better. At Access Learning we know that a student who is nourished focuses better, has a better temperament, and has the energy required to do the heavy-thinking exam preparations demands. So when you go to study, bring snacks! Grab a water bottle (reusable, preferably!). Fruits, veggies, and protein make the best healthy snacks. Think, trail mix and a fruit smoothie. Or cut vegetables and hummus. Whatever healthy foods tickle your taste buds, keep some on-hand because you’ll need them while you get your study on.
3. Take breaks
Again, this should go without saying, but sometimes we get too focused on what we’re doing and forget to pause and recharge. Just as your body needs good food and plenty of water in order to function well, your brain needs breaks from intense studying. Study breaks can be anywhere from a couple minutes, to a couple of hours. It all depends on what you’re trying to work on and how much time you have. Tune into your body and if you notice yourself getting distracted, feeling antsy, or getting stiff, stand up and stretch, maybe take a little walk or nosh on one of those tasty snacks you have with you, and get recharged for the rest of your study time.
4. Keep a “worry pad” nearby
Do you often find that other thoughts filter in while you’re trying to focus on something important? Sometimes it feels impossible to focus on one thing because your brain keeps wanting to redirect you to something else! When you’re studying, try keeping a notepad nearby. Or open a blank document on your computer or phone and use is as a “worry pad.” Worry pads are a place for you to write down all the thoughts that seek to sabotage your studying. By taking a moment to write them down (or type them out) you can feel confident that you won’t forget about them and can put them out of your mind more easily until you’re done with studying.
5. Create a study calendar and organize your notes/school work/study guides so you can use them effectively
Organization, organization, organization!
If your notes and course materials aren’t organized yet, take some time and put them in order! You can’t study effectively without having all your materials readily available. So organize that binder or computer folder, make study notes, and then create a study schedule to follow. Doing all that will actually help you study too, since you’ll be reviewing your class notes and assignments as you organize. It’s a win-win!
6. Celebrate your successes!
Whether you’re done your exams or not, make sure you celebrate your successes! Got all your notes and documents organized? Commend yourself! Made it through your study notes a few times? Give yourself a high five! Finished half your exams and feeling ready for the next ones? Yessssssss!
Taking time to recognize your accomplishment is a hugely motivating practice. If we don’t pause and give ourselves a pat on the back for doing a good job, we risk feeling discouraged and facing studying as a tedious grind. It may feel silly, but rewarding yourself with the acknowledgment of a job well done can be an incredibly helpful study habit. You can even schedule in times where you take a break (see #3) and award yourself some recognition.
Access Learning wishes all our high school students success as they take their exams this month. If you are a parent of a teen and want to know more about how you can support your high school student in creating and maintaining healthy study habits, please get in touch! One of our amazing tutors can work with you and your child to put together and practice effective strategies to improve or enrich whatever academic goals your student has.