With HSCs and VCEs happening this month, you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed if you’re in Year 12 right now. But don’t fret.
We’ve compiled some of the best study hacks that science (and the internet) has to offer so that you can strut into that exam room with some confidence.
1. Put your phone on flight mode
You’ll seriously be doing yourself a favour by eliminating any potential distractions early on. (Plus it’s a nice feeling to turn your phone back on after 2 hours of solid work and see how many notifications you’ve got.) If procrastination is an ongoing problem for you, check out our earlier blog on how to avoid those distractions here.
2. Mnemonic devices
Our brains are excellent with patterns and images, and you can use this to your advantage. Trick yourself into learning important facts or formulas by linking them to something visual or otherwise memorable, like the below examples.
– Visualise: Our minds are incredibly visual, so if you can link a fact to an image you’ll be much more likely to remember it. Start by picturing the scene as a mental image, and then start making visual associations with the rest of the details. The more vivid, detailed and bizarre you make the image in your mind, the more likely you are to remember it.
– Acronym: To remember items in order, create an acronym with a silly memorable sentence. For example, the order of taxa in biology (Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species) can be remembered as “Dear King Philip, Come Over For Some Good Soup.” (In the clean version, that is.)
– Rhyme: “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
– Make your notes pretty
Nobody wants to try and decipher scrunched up bits of paper. Use your best handwriting (or laptop if you must) and plenty of different colours to distinguish between headers, bullets, quotes, etc. and to demarcate different sections.
3. And put them somewhere you’ll be forced to read them
Strategically placed notecards on a fridge or bathroom mirror work wonders. They’ll be so beautiful you won’t be able to help yourself.
If you have a large amount to memorise, break it up into manageable chunks and don’t move on to the next section until you’ve learned the first one.
5. Take a break
Your brain needs time to recharge and process all the information you’re trying to cram into it. It could be a nap, a sandwich, a walk – just move away from the study area and look at the material with fresh eyes later on.
6. Be organised and productive
Staying focused and structuring your time around the study material is essential for staying on track. Have a look at our earlier blog on how to be more productive here.
7. Reward yourself
Celebrate the small wins! This could be a lolly at the end of each textbook chapter, or a nice meal out once you’ve mastered a difficult formula. If you treat yourself for each little win, you’ll start looking forward to the next one.