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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ingham

Study Smarter! Top Tips to Help You Prepare for Assessments

What a year it has been! Whether you are about to sit your final assessments for your final exams, or general classroom assessments here are some tips and tricks from the globalbridge team to help you get through it.

We’ve all been there countless times before yet it never gets any easier; Finding the motivation to study when you’re just not in the mood is tough! There are a million and one things that you’d rather be doing with your time but you know that you have assessments looming!

So, what do you do?

Well, for a start, you begin reading this post and then afterwards, you pick up your textbook and your pen and you stop looking for excuses, because after reading this, you’ll have all the study motivation you’ll need to get started!

1. Break it Down into Small Steps

Okay, open your book, switch on your device, pens and paper ready!

Sounds simple, right? Well, that’s all it takes to start studying. All you need to do is get into the right frame of mind. Rather than thinking of your studying as a whole assignment, think of it as a series of smaller tasks that when completed, will enable you to spend your time however you like.

‘The secret to getting ahead is getting started’.

As you start to complete all of the smaller tasks on your list, you’ll start to feel like you’re making progress, which not only makes time pass quicker, but helps you retain information better. As you start ticking off all those tasks, your motivation for studying will gradually increase as the finish line starts getting ever so closer. Have a reward ready, a chocolate bar, an episode of your favourite programme.

2. Chew some gum!

Can’t sit still while revising? Studies have found that chewing gum can improve your ability to concentrate for long periods. People who chewed gum performed better and more accurately on longer tasks than those who didn’t. So why not give it a try next time you revise? Just maybe don’t try it in an exam!!

3. Change Up Your Fonts

Reading through your notes can be relentless. Especially when you realise you haven’t remembered a thing. But don’t worry! Research has shown that a harder to read font can help your brain retain information more easily. It has been researched that students who studied in fonts like comic sans did better than those who didn’t. Scientists think this is because it gets us to actually think about the information as opposed to just reading it. So, next time you’re typing up notes why not do it in impact?

4. Switch Up Your Study Space

Don’t just stick to studying in your room or at the library! Switching up where you study can actually help you remember things better. In one study, university students who memorised a list of words in two different places did better on tests than those who memorised in one room. By studying the same material in different places, your brain forms different memories of the same thing. Which makes it easier to remember!

5. Test Yourself

Honestly this does actually work! Setting yourself small self-tests throughout a period of time can mean you will perform better on the big exams. Don’t just do it once! Research shows that if you repeat the same test over a few weeks the easier it will be to remember the information.

6. Go Old School

These days a lot of our note taking is done on our tablets or laptops. But we don't want to throw handwriting out the window just yet. Writing down your notes by hand can help your brain understand heavy concepts. While your computer is fine for simple facts, handwriting can help you remember the bigger questions like "What are the themes of Shakespeare’s Macbeth?"

7. Stay Hydrated

Even being a tiny bit dehydrated can decrease your ability to perform simple tasks and form memories. Don't think you can't get away with just drinking tea or fizzy drinks! Water is the best way to keep up your fluid levels. Keep a bottle next to your desk, and try to keep drinking it throughout the day.

8. Listen to Some Tunes

You've probably heard the old tale that classical music can help you concentrate, it is partly true. Music can help you focus. But the good news is, it only works with music you like! Researchers have found that people who listen to their favourite music can concentrate for longer periods than those who don't. So don't worry, you can ditch the Beethoven for now!!

9. The Egg Timer Method

Once you have all your study materials ready to go, set yourself a specific time period that you will study for without stopping. We recommend setting yourself twenty minute periods as research has shown that the average human adult can sustain their concentration level for a maximum of twenty minutes.

‘Never do tomorrow what you can do today!’

Next, you need to get your egg timer (or stopwatch, or mobile phone) and set yourself twenty minutes to study. You’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve when you’re completely focused on one thing for a set amount of time.

If this method works for you, then take a 5 – 10 minute break between each twenty minute period and before you know it, you’ll have dedicated a whole hour to studying.

I hope this has given you some useful tip and tricks. Good luck from all of us here at globalbridge with any upcoming assessments or exams, or indeed any in the future. Just remember your globalbridge profile is a toolkit for life, keep it going!

Sarah (globalbridge team)

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