With exam period being in full swing, it gets harder and harder every day to concentrate and be productive and motivated. Some days (or maybe even all days?) you would rather just stay in bed, watch Netflix and avoid all responsibilities. But at the same time, you know that that’s obviously not the best idea, and you also probably don’t want to deal with all of it over again for a resit. Keeping focus, staying concentrated and keeping up your productivity is definitely a challenge, so here’s some tips to help you ace your exams and assignments. They are tested by yours truly – the PR committee – and have worked for us. Hopefully they will help you as well 🙂
If you have trouble putting your phone away, Forest might be the solution for you. I always find it super difficult to put my phone down and then leave it there for a long period of time. Every time it vibrates or lights up, I want to look at it again. Or when any slight inconvenience occurs when I’m studying, reading something or doing an assignment, my first “solution” to that problem is to take my phone and scroll through facebook. Doesn’t really help much with productivity. I downloaded Forest a couple of days ago and used it a few times now, and it actually helps. You can put a time frame from 10 to 90 minutes, and when you press start, a little tree begins to grow. If you leave the app in the time the tree is supposed to grow, it will rot, but if you leave your phone alone for the entire time, you will have a tree at the end and if you do it a few times a day you will get your own little forest. It sounds a bit stupid, and it’s definitely sad that I’m so phone addicted, but honestly the app has really helped me already. Just that little incentive of not wanting to let my tree die is enough for me to stay away from my phone!
Sometimes I see people who stay in the University Library from 8.30 in the morning until midnight. I always wonder: how can you still add new information to your brain when you study more than 12 hours? Of course it’s not a bad thing to do, but if you feel exhausted and if you can’t do anything anymore just take a break. Fill up this break with some exercises. Whether you go for a walk, small bike tour or a run: MOVE! It will not only be your body that is happy with this, your brain will thank you for it to. Studies already showed that exercising during your exam period will prime the brain for the intake of new information and the encoding of that information into memories. So, this ‘smart’ break will get you better grades as well! And if you can’t live without your books during exam period, just take them to the gym and do your exercises while studying.
Study in groups or with friends. It’s always better to study with other people, it makes time fly by quicker and gives you an opportunity to learn in a much more enjoyable environment. Create a study group, help each other with difficult problems-together we are stronger. Sometimes it’s nice to go to the library with a group of friends, even though you may be studying alone, it makes the library visit much more enjoyable. Who doesn’t like those Starbucks coffee breaks ( even if they turn out to be longer than supposed to :D)
Make yourself a schedule! Write down on a paper or on your phone a kind of routine that you’ll be following during exams period. What I basically did is planning two different types of days: one intense day of study ( it’s also good if you know what to study for how long during that day so you’ll definitely try to keep up with your work scheduled and be more effective) and one more relaxed day ( where I have a bit less of study hours and more free time to meet a friend or just go for a walk). I’ve personally decided to do the intense day of study four times a week and the more relaxed day three times a week. At the end, you’ll see that when you actually have a schedule and something to look forward too (a good free time) you’ll be more productive and you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your time.
Explain the material to others! Even though you might have been studying for days, you might have not processed the information fully and struggle with retaining the information. One way of testing how well you know the material (but also improving how much you retain), is by explaining what you learned to a friend of family member. In this way, you process the information into words than can be understood by someone else, and this makes it easier for you to remember and understand. You could always combine this with tip 3, where you divide the material and explain it to each other. And this tip works even better if it’s about a subject that you have to make a presentation about!
Let us know if these five tips helped you and what tips and tricks we’re still missing!