Winter is coming to an end, and spring is closing in. The average person would be thankful for a change in weather, but not students. For students, spring means exam season. If you want to get an edge before exams, and maybe reduce some of the stress involved in studying, consider this simple tip, which can help you prep for an exam, without you really doing any work.
Instead of setting your background picture to that great sunset photo, or that picture you took at the party, try putting up a study-oriented background. If you have Photoshop or any other graphics software, you can likely paste together a reasonably attractive background image, packed with information you need to learn. While this isn’t likely to eliminate all of your exam studying, it certainly could help you learn hard to remember information. Every time you look at your desktop, you will be absorbing a small amount of that information. The reasons this works are simple:
1. Constant reminders. Every time you see the information, your brain will re-process it. If your mind sees the information enough, and believes that it is very important, it will transition from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. This means that you will remember the information during the exam or while studying, long after you last saw the information.
2. Less stress than studying. Your brain can only digest so much information each day. During exam study season, you are likely feeding it near as much as it can handle. By starting early with a simple study background, your mind can freely process the information, without getting stressed out.
3. Small tidbits of information. A background image cannot hold a lot of information, but the information that is present is easy to digest. Your brain will handle it much better than reading the same fact or piece of information from a text book.
Obviously, setting up a study background is a great idea and has many advantages. But here are a couple things you should make sure you do, in order to get the most out of your study background:
1. Start early. Using a background like this during study season will not help much. Your brain is already processing too much information, and it won’t have enough time or attention to give to this small and not very noticeable object.
2. Make it attractive. You want to make sure that your background is attractive, and that you are not tempted to change. A neutral non-distracting image is a good starting point.
3. Use concepts. Don’t use any long pieces of information, but isntead point form notes in your study kit. Ideally, your study kit should consist of 3-5 key concepts, with brief explanations
4. A picture is worth a thousand words. Use many visual cues in your study kit. Images are easier to remember than words, and can provide you with a better understanding of the core concept.
5. Don’t cram too much information. If you find yourself with too much information than you can put on one study kit, then don’t cram it. Try creating another background study kit, and alternate between the two.
6. Use one subject per kit. Only put information from one subject onto a single kit. Trying to study multiple subjects off of a single kit will only confuse you and your brain.
If you follow the above steps, you should be well on your way to preparing for exams! If you have any other questions, or want to mention a technique that worked well for you, please comment.