Whether you’re preparing for your Driving Learners Permit, your VCE or equivalent High School Exam (A Levels, Leaving Certificate), are at University or a mature age student studying to further your career or for personal development, these tips are intended to help you.
1. Have a realistic study timetable so that you can plan what you need to do according to priority and set achievable goals for yourself, don’t have “pie in the sky” vague ideas, give yourself something tangible to work with, establishing a structure for yourself will halve the potential for stress down the track.
2. Begin each study session by focusing your awareness on your breath and establishing a nice slow steady breathing pattern. Spend 2 or 3 minutes doing this.
3. Avoid studying for too long without a break. Study in blocks of 20 to 50 minutes, and allow a 5 or 10 minute break in between. This is will be far more productive than cramming as it’s more conducive to retaining the information you’re studying.
4. Make sure not all of your breaks are used catching up on Social Media or other online sedentary activities, get up and move around. Mix it up a bit, put on your favourite music and jump around “hands in the air like you just don’t care” style for a few minutes ;) These are of course just two of many options, the trick is to move, preferably to another room or outdoor space if the weather permits. Don’t forget to get some sunshine! It’s good for you, good for your mood and will help with motivation.
5. Practice Mindfulness for 10 minutes every day, it’s a great morning habit but if you’re not a morning person do it at any time you can during the day. This will increase your focus and lower your stress levels, which is exactly what you need leading up to exam times. I will be uploading a 10 minute guided meditation for students within the next few days so check back to download your free copy.
6. Make time for fun, you need balance to get the best results out of anything you do in life. Human beings need some fun time in order to thrive and be their best.
7. If you think you study better with loud music are you prepared to put it to the test? If you are in the habit of playing loud music while you study, check if it’s helping or harming your learning progress by doing the following: Pick one of the topics you’re studying and select two separate points that you would typically study using cue cards. Now try studying one with and one without loud music. Time how long it takes you in each scenario to recall the information comfortably. The results may or may not surprise you, but at least you’ll know if you’re making the best decision for you. It might interest you to discover that by listening to music you may have to study for twice as long to achieve the same outcome. I’m not saying that you will discover that, I’m just suggesting that before you get stuck on a particular study style, make sure it’s the one that’s most efficient for you.
8. Studies have shown that the most effective way to learn something is to teach it to others. Ask family members or friends if they can spare you a few minutes so that you can explain something to them. Ask them questions to ensure they’ve understood what you’ve taught them. This gives you an opportunity to see what you may have missed in your recollection. Being able to teach what you know is an excellent indicator that you will remember it in the long term!
9. If there’s anything you’re not sure about don’t be afraid to seek clarification from your own teacher (they usually want to get those questions so they can give you the help you need) and discuss with your class mates, discussion is another fantastic way of consolidating learning.
10. Make sure you’re getting good quality sleep and following a consistent sleep routine. This will increase your concentration and will help you to recall information better. Try not to sleep with your devices by your bed; checking status updates when you really should be resting is counterproductive to all that hard study work you’re putting in during ‘official’ waking hours. Be smart and work with yourself not against!
11. Observe your ‘State’ when you are studying well, note how you are breathing, how your posture is, how you’re feeling, where you are feeling it in your body. When you have a clear and vivid impression of how you experience learning, lock it in by touching the bone on your left wrist with your right hand (or anywhere else that you can repeat when you are in an exam situation). Practice this when you study; when you sit your exam, get back into that resourceful learning ‘State’ by touching the bone on your left wrist with your right hand and breathing consistent with your study ‘state’ again. This will assist you in calmly recalling what you learnt. Don’t wear a smart watch to an exam and do this! Don’t wear a smart watch into an exam at all!
12. Talk to your parents or trusted people in your support network about anything that may be worrying you, no matter how trivial it may seem. The act of talking about it will provide a sense of relief and often it will provide you with an insight you didn’t have when you were tossing it over inside your head. Talking about things that are troubling you helps to clear your mind and allows you to pay better attention to your studies as well as restoring your sense of equilibrium.
13. Eat well. Try to avoid very sugary foods and drinks which will give a short burst of energy followed very rapidly by a significant slump. Eat balanced meals and eat regularly. Don’t study all day and skip lunch, maintaining your energy levels through sensible balanced meals will help keep you focused and on track to achieve the results you want.
14. Remember to always read your exam paper thoroughly from start to finish. Read questions fully and ensure that you understand them correctly before commencing your answer. A good tip to remember is that if you're doing an exam with multiple choice questions, the multiple choice questions may have valuable clues and information for the questions in the rest of your exam e.g. correct terminology. Bear the multiple choice questions in mind when you are doing the rest of the exam. An exam is just a snap shot of where you are on that day of your learning journey. There are many options ahead of you and you will continue learning (often in spite of yourself) throughout your life. Don’t ever allow anyone else to impose their limited beliefs upon you. Only you can determine what you’re capable of but bear in mind that the better you get the better you can get.
15. Learning is a privilege, and formal education is not available to every person on the planet. This is something we can all hopefully try to change and improve through the advantage of our own education.
* If you would like help managing Anxiety, Stress or improving your concentration and memory recall please feel free to give me a call, Hypnotherapy can really help with all of the above. Simply call Hypfocus Therapies and speak to me Georgina Mitchell on 0435 923 817 or contact us using this form. As an accredited Clinical Hypnotherapist and Professional Counsellor I can work with you to help you overcome exam nerves and achieve your best possible results. Skype appointments are available.Contact
* Results may vary
Hypfocus Therapies services the Mentone, Highett, Cheltenham, Parkdale, and surrounding areas of the South East Suburbs of Melbourne. Skype appointments are available.
© Hypfocus Therapies September 2015
Melbourne Hypnotherapist Georgina Mitchell was born in Ireland, moving to Australia in 1989. Georgina Specialises in helping people with Anxiety Disorders and is an active member of the Melbourne Hypnotherapy Community. In Melbourne Hypnosis is being accepted as effective tool for anyone wanting to achieve a positive change in Mood, Behaviour and Habit.
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Please note as with all therapies, Results for Therapies delivered by Hypfocus may vary from person to person