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Study for Exam’s Effectively

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Before you start studying, make sure you’ve got everything you need. On your table should be class notes, the syllabus, required books, teachers slides, the tools you need, and ideally examples of previous exams so you know the structure and how it’ll be graded. In your fridge there should be superfoods: almonds, fruits, veggies and yogurt should do the job. Even if your brain’s weight is only around 2% of your body weight, it uses up around 20% of its energy. To avoid procrastination, shut down all distractions and tell your friends not to disturb. Ideally you should start studying weeks before, but lets assume that you have just 7 days and 3 hours a day. On day 1, your aim is to get context, to see the big picture. This is important, because context
acts like a memory network, to which you can attach all details. First you make connections and then later
remember things easier. To get there fast, read the class syllabus, skim through text-books and review all the materials without going into details. If you’re studying roman history, watch an epic movie about Caesar in the evening. If its physics, go visit a science museum and try to understand whats going on. Once you see the big picture, chunk it up and make a plan. If there are 10 chapters to learn and 5 days to do that, cover 2 chapters each day. Day 2. Now it’s cramming time and you have to
learn 2 chapters. To study effectively, make handwritten notes
in your own language. Even better, try to explain it in your own
simple words out loud to check your understanding. Every 30-45 minutes or so, take a short 5-10
minute break. That will maximize your retention and
keep creativity up. Also keep snacking on nuts and fruits to boost your brain’s energy. Finish your session with an instant self-test to check your understanding. Such quick tests can improve retention by up to 30%. Day 3 to 6. Start by reviewing your own summaries and the material from the previous days. Look at your instant self-test and check what you got right and what you got wrong. Where there are gaps, fill them. As you have 3 hours, spend 1 hour on that review and 2 hours learning the next chapters
of the material. Like the days before: start reading, take notes, summarize in your own words and then finish with a self-test. Day 7. Again, start by reviewing yesterday’s work. Then spend the remaining time reviewing everything one more time: all 10 chapters. To check your understanding, you can use the table of contents, which is like a very short summary of the entire book. If you have time left, write an essay to summarize all the materials into one big chunk or do a full test-exam. In the evening, pack your bag and everything you need for the exam day. Then go to bed early. Good sleep before the test can increase your performance by 30% – dreams are essential in remembering. Exam Day. Get up on time, so you don’t start the day already completely stressed out. Begin your day by eating a good breakfast to give your brain the energy to run for the next hours. Research suggests high-carb, high-fiber, slow-digesting foods like oats or brown rice. Then leave home on time so you arrive at the exam room on time
without being in a rush. Stress mixes up your hormones and should be avoided. Once you sit in the test, skim over all questions so you get an idea of what’s on it. Then try to see how each question
relates to each other. When you realize how each question connects to the next or to the big picture, you will have a higher recall and find betters answers. If you are afraid you might run out of time, do some quick math to figure out how much time you have for each question. Then start. Carefully read the question. You get more points for answering a question poorly than writing the perfect answer that’s off topic. If a question is too hard, skip it first and go straight for the easy ones. While collecting points for easy questions, our brain can subconsciously work
on the harder questions and an answer might pop up. If you get too stressed, take a short break and a couple of long deep breaths. This gets your brain back into thinking mode. If you’re doing a multiple choice question and you are not sure, go with your first guess. Usually, your first instinct is right. If you have NO idea at all but there is no punishment for being wrong, then just guess anything quickly. In the end, if you still have time left, use it to review your answers or correct your spelling. For more tips, watch our other sprouts videos. If we missed something, post it in the comments below so we can learn from you. If you have an exam soon, don’t stress. Even if you would fail it, it’s probably
not the end of the world. As Jack Ma said:
“I flunked my exam for university two times before I was accepted by what was considered my city’s worst university.” Today he’s China’s biggest success story. Good luck!

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