Monday, 17 March 2014

8 Study tips for the procrastinator

Procrastinating? I am not procrastinating, I am just making sure I have nothing else to do before I start studying.
Studying Incentive: when you reach a gummy bear you get to eat it. An idea so crazy it just might work!
I have a different kind of post from my usual for you all today. Having not long finished my mock exams and the finals fast approaching, I need to learn how to study more effectively. Because, let's face it, I am CRAP at studying. I seriously suck at it and I am sure I am not the only one. This year is such an important year for me in terms of exams because I am in 5th year doing my Highers (no idea what that means in terms of the rest of the world) which means that these results will decide whether I get into university or not. Scary stuff. Here is my tips to help you be less crap at studying.

1 // What kind of learner are you?
One of the first things you should do, before you even start studying, is figure out what kind of learner you are. The two main types are visual learners and auditory learners. Visual learners find it easier to see what it is they are learning. If you prefer to use flash cards, draw mind maps or read/copy notes, you could be a visual learner (like me). Auditory learners tend to learn best by listening. To cater to this, you could record yourself reading out your notes and listen to it when you are getting ready in the morning (like doing your makeup or your hair, for example), or just before you go to bed. Once you have figured out what kind of learner you are, you can adapt your studying so that it is as effective as possible. 

2 // Create a study plan
I know we all hate the idea of having to make a study plan but it really is an effective way to manage your time. If you have time slots allocated for different subjects on different days of the week, you will be more likely to actually get your head down and do it. It gives you that little bit of motivation if you feel like you have to stick to your plan so make sure you give yourself plenty of time for each subject so you can fit enough studying in. Subjects you find more difficult can be given bigger slots so you can spend more time getting to understand them and remember all the information you need to know. 

3 // Alter your notes so they are in your own words
If you are given notes by your teacher, try copying them down differently to help you understand them better. If they used a word you aren't sure of, look up the definition and adapt the sentence so it makes more sense to you when reading back over it. This will help the information sink in better and make it easier for you to reproduce come exam time. 

4 // Don't cram
Hands up if you are a crammer! Most of us are guilty of this, including me. We simply don't give ourselves enough time to fit everything in and end up spending the night before an exam trying to force as much information as possible into our little heads. It has been scientifically proven that our attention spans only last for about twenty minutes, and after that our mind starts to drift. Therefore, by spending hours on end the night before is not going to do you any good. The information will not stay in there. Try starting your studying earlier so you can take your time over it.

5 // Organise your study space
It is far easier to work on a clutter free desk. Ensure your surroundings are tidy so that there is nothing sitting closely to you that could take your attention away. Scientists have found that people are able to focus better in a tidy area so put those clothes back in the wardrobe and mugs in the dishwasher!!

6 // Take regular breaks
As previously mentioned, our attention spans often usually only last around twenty minutes. By taking regular, five minute breaks, our brain has time to relax enough so that when you go back to studying, it is fully prepared to retain more attention. This is your opportunity to go make yourself a cup of tea, have a scroll through Twitter or nip to the loo, just don't spend too long on your break or before you know it, you will have wasted an hour! (I am guilty of this.)

7 // Do past papers
You can use exam papers from previous years to help bring all your studying together. When you have finished a unit, do some exam style questions on them as this is the best kind of practise you can possibly get. Exam questions are often similar so you can sometimes find that the same type of question comes up every year or two and you will therefore know how to answer it. It gives you an insight in to what questions are most common, so you can spend more time studying for them. 

This is, without a doubt, my best piece of advice to you all. Don't just sit your phone beside you and promise yourself you won't touch it, make sure it isn't even in the room so you aren't tempted to check it everytime you get a text or notification! A phone, or any gadget or distraction, is just too tempting to have near you. It is okay to have a glance at it on your five minute break, as long as you don't get carried away - leave it outside your room when you go back to studying. I know firsthand how addicting it can be when you are meant to be studying, but to get anything of real value done, you need to banish those gadgets. Pronto.

I really hope these tips help you in some way if you are studying for exams soon, or even just class tests. Let me know if you try any of these out. And if you have any type of test coming up, good luck!

P.S. Stop reading blogs and get back to your studying. 


  1. I don't study anymore but these tips definitely would have helped me out. Saying that, I'm still very good at procrastinating! Great post :)


    1. I'm glad you think they would've been helpful! You never know, you might be able to apply them to other things in your life to help that procrastinating habit! x

  2. ahaha I love the second picture. I need to take note of these tips :) xx


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