Organisation is Key
by Tiffany Kennedy
Okay so school, university, exams, it’s all a lot to take in. School is where we all start off our lives and for the most part, it’s taken up majority of mine. Sometimes these things can be incredibly overwhelming, it can cause intense amounts of anxiety and sometimes even panic attacks. So I kind of just wanted to go over everything that I do in order to try and handle this and keep my calm in exams, as well as study efficiently. Firstly, I’m going to start with some tips for studying. Through out the year it’s efficient to re-write and recount your notes for the day. So whatever work that you’ve written out, it is worth it to type it out (or write it out) neatly so that you a) go over the information you were given and b) have a neater version for later on when you need it. This also means that when you’re taking notes in class you can just use shorthand because you later reciprocate. Another tip during the year is to always be prepared and organise. So perhaps get a planner or use a calendar set out each day that you want to study and when things are due. I know that you may not actually go over these things. I know that I’ve written to study for one day and then just not done it. But writing down that you need to study, kind of makes you feel a little guilty when you don’t do it. I know that’s a little strange but it’s true, and it makes you want to go back over what you’ve already done because it’s something you’ve told yourself Another little tip for the year is to get a head study. I know that for me, half of my year has gone already! And this is something that I wish I had done before but I know that I’ll start doing it now. Usually at the beginning of the year schools give out a brief outline on what you’ll be doing, and if the teacher or lecturer says that next week you’ll be a looking at a specific thing, then I recommend actually looking at this subject before your next class. You don’t need to read a whole chapter about it or anything but try and find a little insight to what you’re doing next so you can ask questions or it may just further your understanding. It’s a little bit of work but I honestly think it’s worth it. Another item that I’d like to talk about is actually keeping organised. This will help throughout the year and hopefully it’ll help during your exam period as well. Exam periods are stressful, and just having a system that’s already in place can help with relieving this stress. In order to do this, I suggest creating a set up that good for you. I have a Kikki K planner which is lilac and gold that I love ever so much. I know that people think I’m strange when I see this but when you have a planner or something that actually looks good, then you want to write in it or use it. This planner is just so lovely and I use it all the time. Setting up how you want to work with this planner or whatever system you use, perhaps it’s your phone, will help you to create structure. Personalising it the way you want to just makes you want to use it more and can help with your organisation skills. Another thing with planners is that it’s great to check them every morning and every afternoon. Personally I only check them in the morning if I’m at school, just to make sure I’ve done my study for an assessment or test, but I usually check them straight after my classes, just so I know what it is I’m supposed to do. I’ve been told that having a day a week to clear everything out is also a good thing (not that I do this). Usually for me every month or so I’ll go through all my notes and my planner etc and recycle what doesn’t need to be there anymore. Just to clean everything out so nothing gets to messy and untidy. I probably should look into doing that every week. Now we’ve come to the exams. I’m already half way through my exam weeks for this semester and I’ve been surprisingly calm about it, so calm that people have noticed. I watch my friends who have been up all night studying freak out about each exam they need to do next, but I just didn’t really feel that need. Yes I feel a little bit anxious (which led to an anxiety attack after my lit exam) but overall I know that I’ve prepared as much as I can which is all we need to remember. Firstly when it comes to exams and studying for them, you don’t want to be all over the place. If you are then you’ll freak out and you won’t retain any information. I usually set a time each day to study, perhaps it’s and hour or more. Usually I’ll do an hour of studying, have a break and go back, that usually helps to go over everything and remember everything I need to. I usually already have my notes pretty organised, and if they’re typed I just print them out, highlight what I feel are the most relevant points and then create a sort of brain storm. Brain storms and timelines are great for studying. If you do something like history or English Lit, timelines can be very useful to lay out your information and remember what happened when. Brain storms are also helpful in all subjects, find some practice questions and then create a brain storm about that, it usually helps because you’re remembering the information and regurgitating it. Another tip for exams is to drink plenty of water and exercise. That sounds silly I know, but it’s good to get an early start each morning of exams. Getting an early start to do yoga or even ten minutes of jogging creates structure in your day, as well as balance. Use it as time to not think about exams or to stress, just jog it out or punch it out, release all that negative energy. Getting a good breakfast and drinking plenty of water will make sure that your body is at its optimal level in order for you to do that best you can. You don’t want to be dehydrated or feeling groggy. And get a good nights sleep! That is honestly the best thing, it doesn’t matter if you think you haven’t studied enough for that subject the night before, if you relax and get a good nights sleep, it is so much better for you. You can always study in the morning while you’re eating breakfast. And my final little exam prep tip is to find innovative ways to study that won’t bore you. Our teacher suggested playing ‘celebrity heads’ with the different characters from the books that we’ve read in order to retain information about them. Also study groups help as well. With the technology we have today you can just make a little study group on Facebook so you can ask other people questions when you need to, and they’re also there for moral support, they are going through the same course you are so they’ll probably be thinking in a similar way. I hope these help you a little bit in your study leading up to exams. I know that I spent a very long time reorganising my notes because no one told me how to study or what is efficient so I kind of had to find it myself. Just remember that if your doing exams, just relax, say you fail, it’s not the end of everything, sure it’s devastating and it’ll be hard work to try and get where ever you need to but if you do fail, that’s okay because they’re are plenty of other ways to achieve what you want to.