Things to avoid doing when studying for an exam
To avoid beating around the bush, when it comes to studying for an exam, some things that work for some people do not work for others. So it will be extreme for an individual to actually expect some certain rules to work efficiently for him simply because it worked for me or for a classmate. However, despite the discrepancies in human factors and the differences in which we harness the environmental factors, there still exist a lot of things that they share together.
So, if you happen to be getting ready to study for an exam or you are already preparing for an exam, I have taken my time to single out some things that you might be doing that haven’t been helping people in studying for exams. What you are about to read is based on general basis, something you definitely will relate with – even if it’s not totally.
1. Avoid Using the Highlighter
Don’t get me wrong, the practice of underlining or highlighting texts in a textbook is cute, so cute that it makes you think you are actually studying – for real. But then again, you aren’t just studying because you want to know, you are studying for an exam. Using the highlighter is good if you are at the initial stages of reading – not preparing for exams.
When you read for the first time, you are allowed to mark it up, look up into the web for paragraphs and learn outside the academic material you are using. However, these practices are what you do when you are trying to understand. Most examiners will not test you base on the number of one liners you have highlighted; they will test you on how much you remember. So yes, maybe this is me saying indirectly that studying for an exam is not a one night thing. Make sure you leave your highlighting for the beginning of the semester or session.
The human brain is unconsciously programmed in a way that even the best of cognitive scientists are yet to understand. But then we know that when you use a highlighter in studying for an examination, you are automatically programming your brain to tell your sub-conscious self that you will read the material again. Hence you might not be able to retain what you should have retained if you hadn’t used a highlighter.
You might want to ask what you can use to substitute a highlighter, use a pen and a jotter.
2. Mnemonics used to Work
If you went through the same system of schooling that I did, chances are you will be familiar with questions like; ‘List the components of blah blah blah’ or ‘List the first 20 elements of the periodic table’. To me, having to have all these things in my head was scary, so I always settled for mnemonics. Mnemonics are memory tricks and in time past, they have worked. But do they work in an advanced exam setting where understanding of a particular subject is tested? Sure, but only if the examination you are studying for has a lot of list. Else, you have got to avoid using them.
Apart from the fact that they are shallow and tend to streamline your understanding to whatever is in what you are studying for exam, mnemonics are like the lyrics of a songs, such that forgetting a single word will ruin the whole tone.
3. Avoid being too comfortable
There is something comfortable about lying down on the bed and doing daily tasks. I can categorically say that lying in bed while studying for examination is great, but then it is harmful on the long run. The human brain has a way of relating every of our activities with the environment. When you are lying down on a bed, your brain is automatically telling your body that you are ready to sleep and chances are you will sleep faster than if you were actually studying on a table.
As established earlier, everybody have their own preferences. Everyone has preferences for studying places. Some like big, crowded spaces and others like isolated silence. Some like couches, while others think everyone at kitchen table should study. These are all preferences with advantages and disadvantages, but one thing I know is that while studying, it is important not to be too comfortable.
Look for a place to study that won’t distract you too much. Some of us do better to tune background noise than others, but sometimes we believe that we do well to tune it up, because we like it if it really has a bad effect on our focus. You can only hurt yourself if you are not honest about it.. Ensure that you have the necessary supplies you need. If you have to keep interrupting yourself to get supplies, you will reduce your effectiveness.
4. Stay Away from Poor Eating Habits
Having to study for exams is a tedious task that does not just involved the body but the mind as well. Sometimes the eating habits that won’t be harmful to your health on normal study note will be harmful to you when studying for exams. And some other times you might just get to adapt to poor eating habits when preparing for exams. There is no hard rule about what to eat, as a matter of fact, there are a lot of opinion out there as regards the perfect eating habits for people studying for exams but then again, it all depends on the individual.
Research has shown that the better and healthier we eat the better we feel and the more we are able to focus on the task. People who rely too often on sugar fixes, drink too much coffee, or eat fatty foods are at risk of sluggishness, jittery, or burning out. We may be inclined to stay up late when studying for exams and forget to eat and drink properly due to stress. But bad eating habits will leave you with less energy both mentally and physically before and during examinations.
5. Avoid Marathon Reading
There are some certain points in the preparation for exams that it suddenly dawns on us that we haven’t done much in preparation for the exams, this mostly lead to what we have come to know as marathon reading. It is quite unhealthy to sit down to read a without break. Make sure you’re sitting down at your own convenient time to study. It is actually better if you can spread your study plan it over a number of days because it will help your brain retain whatever you are studying better.
For instance, if you study for four hours a day and you do this for three days, that is a whooping 12 hours and what you will retain will be more when compared to doing straight 12hours in a day. Also, if you happen to be spacing your reading time, it is better not to stay away for a long time simply because you want to avoid marathon reading. The essence of avoiding marathon reading is so that you will take breaks in your study time.
To conclude, there are different types of studying. Studying for exam happens to be one of such and the goal of writing an exam is to pass. While it is important to study for exam, it is also important that we study to understand first. In other words, studying for exams is not necessarily when exams are near. Most times it I even better to study when exam is not near as it will boost confidence when the exam is near. Also, always keep it in mind that what worked for you might not work for me. So if there is any of the above listed that you cannot relate with, you don’t have to give it much thought.