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How to study effectively? Study techniques that will help you ace that exam
Published:  Feb 14, 2022 3:13 AM
Updated: 3:13 AM

Studying can be tricky, even more so when exams are just around the corner. However, with the proper techniques and hard work, you can most definitely ace your tests.

Let’s look at how you can study effectively without stress and worry about your upcoming exams.

Image above: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

What are the 4 study skills?

Study skills are a collection of transferable life skills that help you to learn and recall effectively. 

Hence, you will be able to utilise them in new situations when you’ve finished your tertiary education. Organisational skills and time management are just a few examples. Employers value a variety of talents, and study skills are closely related.

Here are the four main study skills a student needs to succeed:

  • Learn from your mistakes: Continue to evaluate your development and see mistakes as opportunities to improve your abilities. The capacity to persevere will help you in all aspects of your life.

  • Ask for help when unsure: Being able to ask for help and assistance is one of the most vital study abilities. Every excellent student understands that outside help is sometimes required.

  • Keep on questioning: Consider how you can apply the material to your own life or profession as you absorb it. Knowledge will become more meaningful if you consider how it might be used realistically.

  • Do what works best for you: Everyone has different learning styles. Not everyone learns best by reading and writing, so putting what you've learned into practice might be beneficial. Be aware of how you retain information effectively. 

How to study effectively for exams?

Here are some tips on how you can effectively study for your finals:

Manage your time well

The majority of students have high expectations for each new semester of school. They imagine themselves succeeding in their studies and schoolwork. 

However, they are sometimes unable to put together a practical strategy or build a routine that would allow them to attain academic achievement. 

A day, a week, and a term have a limited number of hours. If you don't pay attention, the semester will come to a close before you realise it. Therefore, time management is critical. Plan your study time on a daily, weekly, and semester basis to attain academic achievement.

Photo by ugurlu photographer from Pexels

Alternate between similar topics

When studying, we frequently assume that it is ideal to devote a certain amount of time to one topic and complete a review before going on to the next. 

However, a recent study has repeatedly shown that switching between distinct themes is more productive, particularly for similar topics.

Become your own teacher

Be your own teacher and try to explain the information in your terms. This can be done in a study group, with a study partner, or alone. 

Saying the content aloud can help you understand where you are confused and where you need additional information. It will also help you remember information better. 

Use examples and establish links between topics as you discuss the content. It's fine to do this while holding your notes. 

While you may need to use your notes to explain the content at first, you will soon be able to teach it without them.

Create mind-maps

Try mind mapping, a technique that helps you to visually arrange knowledge in a diagram. This is especially useful if you're a visual learner. 

You begin by writing a single word in the centre of a blank page. Then you write main concepts and keywords that are closely related to the fundamental notion. Other similar ideas will continue to develop.

Photo by ugurlu photographer from Pexels

The way our brains store and retrieve information is connected to the structure of a mind map. So, for example, reading comprehension can be improved by mapping your notes rather than simply writing them down.

Try studying before bedtime

The importance of sleep for brain function, memory development, and learning cannot be overstated. The pre-sleep study, whether it's reviewing flashcards or taking notes, can aid with recollection. 

When you're awake, you learn new things; when you're sleeping, you polish them, making it simpler to recall and enabling you to use them appropriately when you need them most. 

This is significant not just in terms of how we learn but also in terms of how we can maintain healthy brain processes.

Create a study plan

Make a study schedule that includes what you want to learn and when you want to learn it. One of the most effective strategies for organising school life is a plan.

Designate a study area

Locate a space where you can spread out your notes, computer, and books. Make an effort to choose a location that is well-lit, comfortable, and free of distractions.

If your home or room is not conducive, try one of the libraries or quiet places on campus.  

Make colour-coded notes

Messy notes might make it challenging to recall critical topics from your books, lecture or presentation. Coloured writing is a fun method to keep track of what you're learning. It also aids in the examination and prioritisation of the most crucial concepts.

According to a recent study, colour can help people remember things better. Using warm colours like red in your notes gives the information a favorable perspective. It also causes you to be more engaged, interacting more with the learning material by creating a pleasant and inspiring learning environment. 

Warmer hues "raise attention and evoke enthusiasm and information," according to the study.

Practice makes perfect

Just as athletes who constantly practise enhancing their sporting talents, learning should be treated similarly. The most significant way to improve your ability to recall knowledge is to practice. 

Hence, the saying practice makes perfect will help you study for your exams more effectively. Try looking for past year exam papers to have an idea of how questions will be asked for your exam. 

Space out your studying 

Instead of cramming the night before, you should space out your studying. This encourages pupils to study over a more extended period.

This allows your mind to form connections between ideas. Building upon knowledge over time ensures that information can easily be recalled when you need it.

The good news is that simple rules for studying session schedules are adequate. Regarding the number of sessions you utilise, having too few is more significant than having too many. 

If you only have 12 hours to devote to a subject, it's best to study in six two-hour periods rather than a couple of six-hour sessions.

How can I study smartly?

You’ve probably heard of the saying study smart, not hard. However, for the best results, you should do both. Studying hard is essential if you want to beat the competition. 

Studying smart can help you learn more quickly and effectively while remembering information for extended periods. Here are a few tips that you can follow:

  • Sit in front of the class.

  • Pay attention during class.

  • Prepare for your class beforehand by going through the topic you’re about to learn. 

  • Don’t multitask. Focus on what you’re learning.

  • Reduce the amount of information by simplifying, summarising, and compressing it.

  • Test yourself frequently. 

How to study effectively during lockdown?

To preserve social distance, some schools and institutions in Covid-hit areas have not yet opened. Others are utilising a hybrid system where students alternate between virtual learning and physical classes. 

As such, students now seem to spend more time studying at home as compared to pre-pandemic times. This can be difficult for some as there can be many distractions at home. 

Nonetheless, it is possible to still  study effectively during a lockdown:

  • Start concentrating on your abilities and honing them.

  • To avoid distraction, put a time restriction on how much you can use your phone or other devices. 

  • Communicate to your family that you are studying at home to minimise unnecessary disturbance.

  • Set achievable and reasonable goals for yourself. The objectives should not be easy to obtain or difficult to achieve. 

  • Physical activity is essential for a healthy brain. Indoor games, regular exercise, dancing, and a nutritious diet are all recommended.

  • Designate a study area that is free of noise and distractions. 

  • Plan your time well. If you don’t, you may find that you’ve wasted the whole day watching Netflix when you’re supposed to be doing your assignments or revision.

Why is studying smartly important for a student?

There is a significant distinction between studying hard and studying intelligently. Studying hard takes time and is stressful, but studying smart saves time, is efficient and yields the best results. 

Good study habits may boost your self-esteem, competence, and confidence. They can also help with exams and deadline anxiety.

You may be able to reduce the amount of hours you spend studying by learning excellent study techniques, allowing more time for other things in your life. 

Students who employ excellent study techniques may feel that their time and effort are more valued.

What is the best method to study?

There isn’t one universal method that works for everyone. We all come from different backgrounds and learning capabilities, so what works for you might not work for another person. 

The best thing you can do to find the best method to study is through trial and error. For example, if you’re a person who loves memorising, that can be the perfect way to learn for your exams. On the other hand, if you’re someone who needs a friend to help you study better, you can try out group studying.

Concluding remarks

With the right skills and tips, you can ace your tests. Just remember to study smart! If you have any enquiries on how to fully utilise college resources to study more effectively, reach out to us on our website! Our counsellors are more than happy to assist you.


This content is provided by UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College Sdn Bhd.

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