I’ve been a student for most of my life (I still am), and the one thing I’ve learned in my collective experience with academia is that the more time you think you have to prepare for an exam, the less time you spend studying. I know it sounds like convoluted logic, but it’s happened to me time and again that I’m tempted to take a leaf out of Newton’s book (or apple from a tree, perhaps) and give it a name of my own. On second thought, rather than waste time on such trivialities, I’d prefer to share my expertise (what I’ve learned from my mistakes of the past and present) with fellow students on the issue of time management:
- Start studying long before the examinations, preferably each day if your schedule permits, so that you don’t have to cram it all in one go on the eve of the examination.
- Active participation in class and keeping pace with day-to-day assignments and homework makes studying for finals a less arduous process.
- I know it’s easy to make schedules and just as hard to stick to them, but if you do map out your study program, get a friend to follow it with you. The power of two makes it harder to goof off when you could get some valuable studying done. There have been times when I’ve started to hyperventilate just because I wasn’t able to keep up to the schedule I set for myself, and this anxiousness caused a domino effect that ended up making my studying less effective as time went on; I learned less and less with each passing minute. The lesson I learned from these episodes was to give myself a little leeway and not be too harsh a taskmaster on myself. The key is to stay focused on the task at hand, which is to get as much studying done in the time you have available.
- Stay organized with your notes and stationery items. This helps you avoid last-minute scrambles for pens and pencils as you head down to the exam hall.
- I’ve found that jotting down notes while studying is an effective technique to retain what I’ve learned. This saves me the time of having to revise that particular lesson again.
- Last minute cramming works only when you’re already familiar with the lessons you’re stuffing in your brain, so make sure you finish studying with a day or two to spare for revision before the exam.
- If you’re really pressed for time, use the hours spent in commuting or get up an hour earlier (or sleep an hour later, whichever works for you) to study.
- Make sure you’re not disturbed during your study hours – tell friends and family to avoid calling or dropping over at the time.
- While background music may work for some as a catalyst that hastens the process of studying, loud and discordant noises emanating from the television are a sure distraction. Avoid TV when studying.
- Don’t fill yourself with caffeine just so you can stay up an hour later than usual. Coffee or any other stimulant imbibed close to bedtime can delay sleep by more than a few hours, and time spent tossing and turning translates into you waking up later or less refreshed than usual.
- If your brain circuits feel overloaded and dull with your long tryst with books, take a short walk in the open to breathe some fresh air into your mind.
This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who is an industry critic on the subject of online Law School Reviews. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.
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