With hours blurring into days and days into months, now is as good a time as any to make sure you are preparing for your exams. And with national lockdown levels fluctuating, and of the reality of studying in isolation always a possibility, it’s a good idea to be prepared to study in the most efficient way. Read the tips below to keep your studies on track.
1. Get enough sleep
Don’t be tempted to stay up all night binge-watching series while at home. Sleep builds memory, so ensure you get plenty of sleep leading during this stressful time. Aim for at least 7–8 hours per night.
2. Organise your study space
While you are homebound, take the time to clean up clutter, organise your books and choose a place to study that is comfortable and free of distractions. Don’t study in bed, and put your cell phone away.
3. Organise study groups
Working in a group can be very effective. You will get ideas from each other and double check your knowledge with your classmates. Connect with your classmates who are also at home, and set up WhatsApp groups or contact your lecturer for access to the Learning Zone.
4. Explain concepts to others
Take turns to explain difficult concepts to each other. If you can explain it, you probably know and understand it. Remember to keep your distance and to rather rely on digital means such as WhatsApp groups or phone calls to keep in touch.
5. Revise completed assessments and work though past exam papers
Go through your completed assignments and focus on study areas where you need to consolidate learning areas. Past exam papers are an extremely valuable resource. Do as many as you can! Replicate exam conditions when you attempt the past papers, and mark yourself strictly.
6. Take regular breaks & exercise
Take a break of 5–15 minutes at least every 90 minutes, depending on how long you’ve been studying. A little exercise is better than none. You’ll get extra oxygen to your brain and come back sharper and more energised.
7. Snack on healthy food
While stuck at home, you may be tempted to snack on more unhealthy food or eat more than you normally do. Remember that your body and mind both benefit from healthy food and can help to keep illness away. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables as much as possible and avoid sugary food and drinks.
8. Plan your day
Even though you are home, stick as closely as possible to your studying schedule. Create a timetable that includes study times for different subjects, and remember to add breaks into your schedule.
9. Take deep breaths
20 minutes of meditation in the morning helps with anxiety. There are many meditation apps available and many are offering free access during this time of crisis. Get the rest of the family that are also at home to join you. If you don’t have the time, just take 5 minutes in the morning to focus on your breathing. This can also help you to focus before the exam, as breathing deeply increases the flow of oxygen to your brain.
10. Stay in contact with your educational institution
The educational institutions will communicate with students about next steps for supporting students at their specific institutions. Be sure to read the communication and to take note of any changes to exam and class timetables.
Above all, remember to keep on track with your studies to ensure success. The more consistently you study, the less anxiety and stress you are likely to feel.
Edited by Glenn Hekma