How do you rate yourself as a student? After so many years of school, would you say you’ve got this studying thing down pat? The thing is, many students are doing what we call blind revision. Read on to learn how you can optimize your revision and make your time work for you!
1. Study with some brain food on the side
It’s easier to study with some treats to keep you feeling happy and motivated. Walnuts are especially rich in omega 3 fatty acids and polyphenolic compounds that help drive cognitive capabilities, making them one of the best nuts for brain health. If you’re not into nuts, that’s okay. Blueberries and dark chocolate are also great options for healthy snacks!
2. Set mini goals
It’s easier to achieve your goal if you break them down into many little goals. This gives you a sense of achievement, which then drives you to hit the next little goal. When you’re jogging, it’s a lot tougher to look at the (very far) finishing line and tell yourself you have to run all the way there. Instead, run the distance of 2 lamp posts and give yourself a 20 second break, and then run another 2 lamp posts. You’ll be able to go much further without feeling as tired!
3. Reward yourself
Many students believe that they can sit down and study non-stop for 8 hours. The fact is, after an hour or so, their brain is no longer working at 100% capacity so their revision is essentially useless. Ever noticed how your smartphone/laptop starts lagging when the amount of available storage space in the drive is low? The human brain is the same. Reward yourself with a break every hour or so, even if it’s a short break. Make a cup of tea and take a short 5-minute walk, or recharge by playing with your dog/cat/whatever furry companion you might have. Another way to keep yourself feeling motivated is by giving yourself little rewards with every mini goal achieved e.g. When I finish making this Biology mind-map, I will get myself a nice slice of dark chocolate cake from the fridge. Make your learning fun and rewarding!
4. Plan your day in advance
This means you outline your hours for revision, your hours for eating and when you will take your breaks. Following a schedule means you are more productive and less likely to procrastinate. It also means you don’t have to spend time wondering what you have to do next.
5. Prevent procrastination
Some students unknowingly set themselves up for failure. Don’t lie down on a bed to read through your notes and then wonder why you felt so tired and relaxed, you just had to take a nap. If you’re studying facing a tv, it won’t be long before you think “Ok I think that’s enough for the day. I can’t study wondering who won the money in Squid Game.” Make your environment distraction-free. If you need more tips on how to do this, read our other blogpost here: How to Improve Your Score in 5 Easy Steps.
6. Know when to stop
We’ve seen students copying notes frantically without even knowing what they’re copying. When we test them afterwards, they don’t even realize they’ve written it down before. Simply put, they weren’t in the zone. You have to understand that sometimes, it’s just not your day. It doesn’t necessarily mean you did something wrong. Times like these, call for you to cut your revision short and do something productive that doesn’t require as much brain power e.g. write a CAS reflection (P/S: we’ve got a great blogpost about this here: 6 Tips to Write the Perfect CAS Reflection). If you don’t have any other academic stuff to work on, spend a few hours doing something you enjoy and blow off some steam before coming back. Your next revision session will go a lot better, we promise!
7. Eat well, rest well
In the days leading up to an important exam, it’s especially easy to fall prey to bad habits. Things like pulling an all-nighter, skipping meals or living off frozen pizza dinners so you don’t have to spend time cooking and have more time for revision. This may seem pretty harmless but for your brain to think sharp, you have to make sure you sleep well and eat a well-balanced diet. Think: lots of nuts, fruits, fresh vegetables and whole grains. It might be useful to do a large meal prep once per week and freeze meals in portions so you can have a fresh, hot meal whenever you need. Make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time so your body has the opportunity to rest and recover – the last thing you need is to fall sick right before an important exam! It happens to everybody!
Have you understood the key points of this article? If you don’t take away anything else from today, just remember that self-care is essential to having a successful IB journey. Think of your IB journey as a marathon and run steadily but slowly towards your goal, rather than sprinting 200 meters and then falling to the ground in exhaustion. Consistency is the key here. Whatever you choose to do to revise and learn, just constantly ask yourself if it’s sustainable and if you can see yourself doing this for a long time. If you’re finding it hard to come up with a sustainable strategy, speak to our in-house academic strategists who can help you with your goals!