I'm not exactly a pro in this nor the perfect example, but many of you have been seeking help from me with your exams! And since it's the "exam period", I thought it's a great time to do an updated version on some useful tips I follow religiously!
It may not work for all of you but this is just how I usually do it!
1) Select a conducive environment
My surroundings can easily affect the way I feel, which is why finding the right spot to study is the first on my list. Good environment = good mood to study.
I know it's already a pretty known fact that you've to find a suitable place to study, but it seems like many people don't actually put it to action? I notice how many of my friends love studying at crowded places like Mcdonalds, Starbucks, Coffee Bean. I used to study at Changi Airport during my O'lvl days but I think it's pretty overrated now and which I totally do not recommend during peak hours cos the crowd can get pretty overwhelming and it can cause you to lose focus.
Also, don't ever study on your bed - It may work for some, but I feel that it can get tempting to fall into a deep slumber.
I don't really like studying at home as I'll get distracted with the things in my room, so here are some places I would recommend:
- Book Cafe (This is by far my fav cafe to work at, it's quiet in the afternoon on weekdays and opens till around 1030pm at night. Not only does it serve awesome food, there's also a corner where you could get cosy on their sofas and work on your stuff.
- Marina Bay Link I swear one of my biggest problems was finding a place during the weekends because it's so freaking crowded everywhere. Some time ago I noticed that Marina Bay Link is a ghost town over the weekends since it's a corporate area.
- Privé, Keppel Bay If you update yourself on Hao's tweets you should know that I was just studying there couple of weeks ago during my assessment period. Great scenery, food and ambience. However the food might be a little more on the pricier end so you might wanna take that into consideration.
- The Grandstand Been there several times for project meetings with my friends. Many cafes in that mall (or should I say food centre haha) I would suggest to avoid this place over the weekends as it's a family friendly place and the kids there can be quite rowdy.
I could go on and on, but let's not make this post all about awesome cafes hahaha. Let me know in the comment section if you'd like to know more places and perhaps I could write a separate entry the next time! :)
Anyway, if your parents are strict on your whereabouts, I guess another alternative would be to stay in school after classes. Reason being, most people usually head back after school hours and I'm sure most of your schools have plenty of quiet spots that you could access!
Lastly, I'm not a fan of the national library (seriously f*ck that, there are too many people there) but I love my school library, so go ahead and make full use of your it if you're allowed to study in there!
2) Plan your schedule
I know this sounds redundant and I'm aware that schedules are pretty hard to keep up to since unforeseen events tend to take place. However, instead of writing a timetable (eg. 11am wake up, 12pm eat etc) just jot down the things you have to complete by the end of the day/week. So somewhat like a to-do list.
If you're not too fond of bringing a book around and since most of you are on your phones most of the time, you can set Reminders using the iPhone app or mark your S Planner on Android. Another alternative is to download the Desktop Calendar on your laptop (Windows users) or put sticky notes on your dashboard! (Mac)
Not only does this help you to check if you're on track, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment once you've completed the things your required to do. This way, it sets as a form of mental motivation as well.
Be realistic with your goals btw! Don't aim to rush and finish 10 chapters within a day because your brain would probably be fried after the 3rd.
3) Take ample amount of rest
Please ah, when I said ample I don't mean like 10 mins study and 5 hours break lol. Personally, I can go up to 3-4 hours at one go, followed by a 30 mins - 1 hour interval. Of course, this depends on how much time you have in a day so you'd probably have to adjust it to suit you. I usually start studying minimally 2-3weeks before a paper so I don't have to restrict myself when it comes to the number of hours I've to squeeze in in a day. Besides, its acts as a leeway for extra revision time.
Above that, it's also important to sleep at regular timings. At tertiary level we have study breaks, and classes start in the afternoon on some days so it doesn't really matter how late I stay up till. However, if you're in primary/sec school... I would suggest to stick to a regular sleeping and waking up timing.
Simply because you can easily screw up your body clock whenever you adjust your sleep schedules - Which is a really bad thing because it's hard to concentrate in class once you start to feel like you're in a paradise filled with feathery pillows and springy beds.
Besides, that saves you from taking naps after school! I used to take naps and it's really bad because I'll start procrastinating... Then I'll end up sleeping for more than an hour at times and I'll be wide awake during bedtime at night.
If you desperately need a nap, try not to hit more than 30mins!
Now that I'm done sharing with you some of the ways I prep myself for a good study session, next are some tips on how I usually score for my texts/exams!
4) Forget about keeping a nice handwriting
Surely, keep your revision notes nice and neat for all you want but when you're trying to memorise something or scribble things that you're uncertain about, work on rough paper instead and FORGET ABOUT YOUR GOD DAMN HANDWRITING!!!
Tbh I'm saying this based on my personal experience as I used to care a lot about my handwriting while writing my notes, and it can get pretty distracting the moment you start caring about how your words look more than what you're actually writing.
That being said, I'll usually try to familiarise myself with a piece of content by writing it several times on a rough paper. Once I'm sure and confident, I'll then proceed to writing it out nicely on my notebook so that I could read and revise. You can do it the other way round as well, both works!
Anyway, point is to get what you wanna memorise into your head and not to have it look perfect. Remember, you're studying not designing an award-winning poster.
5) Get someone to test you
I'm not sure who's willing to do this for you, but I'll usually get someone to test me every single day, a week before my paper. (Sometimes even more) This way, you're like preparing yourself for the real deal and it will sorta boost your confidence as you start getting more and more of your answers right along the way.
You can do it verbally... but not trying to show off, I scored full marks for my tests twice when I took the extra effort to write down my answers and get someone to mark it for me instead. :p
If no one's willing to do this for you, I guess you can go ahead and test yourself by writing and checking it thereafter - But I honestly feel that it doesn't work as well and would definitely not work at all if you decide to surrender and peek at the answers lol.
There are probably a million other ways to go about doing this, but above are just some of my preferred and (I guess) more substantial methods that I wanna share!
After all, these are just some help I can offer but in order to pass or ace your papers, you will need to try your very best.
I know it's tough to find joy in studying especially when you're in primary or secondary school. When I was at that stage, I hated almost every subject in school and all I could think of are the fun things to do when my exams are over but education is really important.
People often ask me why don't I give up on my studies to focus on my career but because it's my backup plan. The media world is complicated, tiring and unpredictable. I always believe that people want to see new things and they'll eventually get bored of me.
New bloggers will come by and replace me in no time. Even though I'd love to do this for as long as I can, I feel that it's important to receive proper education and graduate with good grades.
Fame may be an easy way to earn you a living, but fame doesn't last - Skills do.
Trust me, after my O's I thought of home schooling and sometimes I even wanted to drop out of school but I'm so thankful I didn't cos otherwise I'd be leading an aimless life with no direction.
I won't deny that going out to work gains you work experince compared to what you learn in school sometimes, but how do you even start working without learning the fundamentals?
I used to say things like, "Why do I even have to study this, it's pointless and I wouldn't even need it in future", or "I could study all these at home by myself."
Question is, WOULD YOU?
Could you guarantee that you'll be disciplined enough to study on your own accord everyday?
There's no shortcut to success; you reap what you sow. Don't regret when it's too late!
All the best for your exams darlings!
If you've more interesting and useful ways, do leave a comment below and share it with everyone! I guess we could all use an extra tip or two. :)