Hollie
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Studying

How I Love to Study and My Study Tips

As a student, I try to perfect as many forms of studying and revising as possible to ensure I do my best in all my exams and controlled assessments. I've tried so many ways of studying, some of which have worked, others which haven't. Not everyone studies the same, so how I study may not be the way that you study. However, I'm going to share my study tips and skills, and you never know, you may discover a fantastic new way of studying.

1. Mindmaps

This is one that I've been taught to do since I started public education, age three. Another name for a mindmap is a spider diagram, if you don't know what they are. I usually make booklets, the front page being a mindmap of the whole topic. The title on the front, with links to the points within that topic. Each page inside the booklet would contain a full mindmap on all of those points, fully explaining the whole topic. Redrawing the mindmaps or looking them over causes them to become memories. I love using these for subjects that have interchanged between topics or points within topics, as you can make these links clear with arrows instead of naming all of the links. 

2. Plain and Simple Notes

This one isn't necessarily a skill or anything special, but I find it effective. Sometimes you just need to have a page full of notes on a topic to make sure you've covered everything. I tend to refrain from using these as they take a long time to write up and the only thing you can do with them is read, but I find they are useful, particularly with essay based subjects. You can practice essay writing with your notes, or base each paragraph off of each bullet point. 

3. Revision Guides/Textbooks

I use these a lot! They can be expensive but look in second-hand shops or online (Amazon sells second-hand ones) for cheaper than usual. If you get the ones that are specific to the specification and exam board you are using, they cover all information you will need to pass the exams. They can blow you away with too much info at one time so spread out revision with these, but they are extremely helpful. 

4. Past Papers/Practice Papers

The internet is a wonderful thing! You can keep in contact with friends and family, shop from your living room, but you can also use it to benefit your studies. If you go to the website for your exam board (if you're not sure which one it is, ask your teacher!) you can find past papers or specimens for the course. You also have access to the mark schemes and specifications, however, these usually use complicated language as they are designed for experts of the subject to mark based on. There are many subjects that you can't "study" or "revise" for, for example, maths. The only way to truly learn maths is to do maths. Print off some past papers and complete them. I'm sure teachers will be happy to mark them (mine always are), and if not, you can always attempt to mark them yourself using the mark schemes.

There are also many methods that didn't work for me. One of these is revision/flash/cue cards. I've never worked well with these for their intended purpose. Most of my subjects are academic, so there isn't enough room to include all info on the cards. Even in my subjects that aren't, I find that they aren't effective as I can confuse the word/definition (for example) as they are on the same colour card. My preferred use of these cards is to write small notes on one side and stick them around my house. When I go on a study break to make a coffee and grab snacks I can read some as I walk past them. If I'm watching a TV show or listening to music in my room, I can read some notes to ensure my knowledge.

One thing I've learnt being a student for so long is that studying in long chunks is never as effective as shorter sessions. I'm one of those people who can work for long periods of time and still retain information, however, even I stand by the fact that spacing and breaking study time into chunks is the best way to revise. I usually do an hour, have half an hour break, do another hour, have my two-hour tv break, do another half hour, and then it's chill time for the rest of the night.

I find that making a study schedule or revision timetable is an effective way to manage your time and ensure you are studying enough but also have a balance of studying and chill time. I have a seven-hour day, Monday through Friday. Once I get home, I study for a further two and a half hours. On the weekends, I do two hours, usually in hour or half hour chunks. My study guide specifies what I'm studying at what time, so I have a balance between my subjects.

I also suggest not revising too late. If you are tired or using caffeine to stay awake, you are less likely to retain information. If you are too tired to study one night, miss it out—it's not the end of the world! It's better to study less but retain more than studying loads but only remembering small bits.

Remember that the study schedule is only a guide! Don't beat yourself up if you miss sessions. It's there to give you an idea of how much to do a day, not to punish you if you don't do it. If your revision guide tells you to study maths, but you want to study science, go for it! As I've said, it's just a guide. You are still doing work, there is no reason to put yourself down.

That's it for this post but I hope you found it helpful. Hopefully, you'll read something else of mine in the future! See you then!

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Hollie

A sociology student and future law and politics student. I love reading, my fave books being Harry Potter. I love politics, law and sociology, so expect a lot written about those, as well as education in general. 

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