Somerset Times

Studying Well and Stressing Less

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 6,
Term One, 2016

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It’s that time of the semester where you will be sitting several exams for your various subjects. A big part of doing well in exams is understanding how you best learn and using that to your advantage in order to maximise your marks.


Kenta Arichi and Catherine Gerrard, Academic Captains, with Dr Michael Brohier, Deputy Headmaster

Below are a few strategies to make your studying effective:

  • Create a Link between the Content and the Real World: While this is not possible for all subjects, creating the link between the classroom work and its application can be vital in helping you remember the concept. It is much easier to grapple with a concept if it has an application rather than thinking that you’re learning something abstract.
  • Teach Each Other: It is easy to think that ‘I’ve read this page 5 times and I think I’ve got this, let’s move on’. Studies from McGill University found that we generally remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, but most importantly, we remember 95% of what we teach to others. The general principle behind this is that without mastering your understanding of a topic, it is not possible to teach it to someone. As soon as you find a way to explain it, then you will remember how to do it and it may even help you find gaps in your understanding to further revise. Teaching others also helps to assure yourself of how much you know and will prevent you from stressing too much.
  • Take Breaks: The mind, just like any muscle in your body, will need some rest in between study sessions. In your breaks, maybe get up, have a sip of water, listen to a bit of music and get back to the task at hand. Taking no breaks does not mean you will necessarily learn more, so make sure to balance work and rest.
  • Go in the Exam with a Positive Mindset: It is easy to panic about what you don’t know for the exam, but there is not much you can do when you arrive at school that day for the exam. You will find it easier to perform at your best if you focus on how much you have learnt and find it easier to destress yourself before the exam. At the end of the day, even if the exam doesn’t go well, just learn from all of your mistakes and keep persisting!

Finally, if you ever feel overwhelmed with study, please do not hesitate to either email us or come see either Catherine or I and we will be happy to help you.

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