If you are a high-school student in a semester system, you are most likely going into your final few weeks of class before exam time. Managing your time when you have tons of work to get finished after holidays can be stressful. When you move onto university, managing your time doesn’t get easier, but there are tons of resources available by the Learning Skills Services at York University. A workshop called Study Secret was offered to all York U students last week so I decided to came up with a variety of study skills to help you prepare for your end of semester exams.
Start off with a calendar
Creating a Plan of Action is usually the best way to help you efficiently divide your time most efficiently. Picking up a big calendar from the dollar store, or using a calendar application on your computer or electronic device is a good way to keep track of exam dates and assignment due dates. The most important part about having an agenda is knowing how to use one realistically. It is also helpful to colour code your entries so that your calendar is easier to read and this will also help you flag important dates and times. Find out your list of priorities and write each of them in your calendar using a different colour.
Exams (The time and date of your exam)
Assignment Due Dates
Extracurriculars (Basketball Practice, Student Council, Piano Lessons etc.)
Appointments (Guidance, Dentist, etc.)
Filling out a calendar will really help clear your mind of all these dates and reminders or having to look through your handouts to find due dates. Be sure to customize your calendar as much as you want, but the important part is to remember to actually adhere to what you’ve written on it. In terms of helping you prepare for your exams, filling out a calendar is a great way to plan out how much time you should dedicate to each subject. For example, if you have three weeks until your math exam and know you have to get through six units of studying, then you can set aside time every Monday night for the next three weeks to finishing study for two units at a time. This way by the time of your exam, you will have gotten through all of the material. It is always better to study in advance instead of the week of your exam.
Get rid of distractions
One of the most difficult things about studying for me is needing to use technology to review slideshows or look up additional information only to be tempted to log into social media. If you and your cellphone are attached at the hip, it may be difficult for you to go a few hours without responding to texts, tweets, messages or without scrolling through your Instagram feed. The best way to study is to get rid of these distractions. There’s a few ways to do this. The first thing you can do is use a site such as the “Cold Turkey” app, which blocks social media websites and games while you work, to prevent you from procrastinating. It is also a good idea to put your cell phone on silent and leave it in your bag instead of on the table beside you or in your pocket. And if for some reason you need to check your phone, you should plan to only check your phone and disregard social media so that 40 minutes later, you don’t realize you’re still scrolling through your Facebook feed.
Plan group study sessions
If you know you have an exam coming up and there is certain material that you have already looked at on your own or have trouble comprehending, then planning group study sessions with your classmates is a great way to study for exams. When you have a group study session, you and your classmates can help one another better understand the material by teaching one another the material you are most confident with. Studies show, teaching others material or reiterating material you understand to another person, is a great way to remember it and understand it better. If the members in your group spend time even talking about the material, it is still a great way to engage with the content and prepare for your exam. Library study rooms are a great space to hold group study sessions because you are not met with the same distractions of electronics such as television and video games that you are met with at home, and you won’t have to deal with background music and conversations you hear at cafes. Find a space you collectively agree on as a group and plan a couple of study sessions throughout the month to prepare for your exams. When you get to university, you will usually have more student space options available to use for studying. York University for example, has three libraries on campus equipped with tons of study rooms. Here are some pictures of Scott Library, the largest library located at the Keele Campus, with five floors of study space.
I hope you consider these suggestions when you start studying for your end-of-term exams! I’d love to hear about any questions you have regarding the York campus or university. Also, I’d love to hear about your own study secrets, so feel free to tweet me @yorkustudents and let me know…after you’ve finished studying, of course. 🙂