Study Guide for the Stressed Student

By Engine Room Posted 2yr(s) ago Reading Time: About 5 minutes

The exams are around the corner so surely you are doubling down on mock papers and not surfing the internet, right? But since you’re already here, let us help you with four quick study hacks to make your life less painful. You can thank us later.  

#1 Plan to plan!


Most of us are guilty of cramming. While we love to do it (and love swearing never to do it again), it really is one of the least effective ways to learn a subject. Why? Because we are forcing our minds to recite material without forming a deep understanding of the topic. Plus, it stresses our brains more than when buying cai fan

So to avoid overnight overload, plan a study schedule. With this schedule, plot in smaller but more frequent study periods, and match your study time to when the exam is set to happen so your brain gets used to analysing the subject at that particular time of day.

Another #protip is to study within the duration assigned to that paper. For example, if you have a three-hour paper for Signal Processing in Mechatronics, study for this in three-hour blocks, with each hour divided up into 50 minutes of work and 10 minutes of rest. We have tried this ourselves and can confirm that it works wonders with information retention. Give it a go!

#2 (try to) Predict the future


In an ideal world, we will have all the time and knowledge in the world to slay every question. But because reality is tough, a clever way to chalk up a chunk of points is to zone in on question types that carry a higher percentage of marks (like those with diagram drawing involved!) and master those.

A sure way to spot trends in topics and formats is to work through past exam papers. While there is no guarantee that these would show up again, the frequency of past occurrences is a strong indicator of questions making yet another appearance. And before you jump to conclusions, no, we’re not saying that spotting gives you a free pass to ignore seemingly secondary topics. Rather, it is to help you stay woke and polish to perfection key components of the course. 

#3 Team work makes the dream work


Right about now, you are probably regretting all the times you skipped lectures and missed out on taking notes. If you have friends, now is the time to bribe them with a milo peng.

Cracking the books with your course mates is a great way to fill each other’s study gaps, from sharing alternative viewpoints on approaching a problem, all the way down to figuring out how to generate integrals and derivatives on your high-tech calculator.

Additionally, one of the best ways to revise is to explain concepts to someone else. And don’t just answer the question – make sure you can explain the process as well. This helps you to get it clear in your head, and highlights areas you’re still rough in. Bonus: studying with your squad reduces the temptation to procrastinate because #peerpressure.   

#4 Rest. Yes you heard us – REST!


You are one sleep away from the dreaded day. Time to chiong, right? WRONG!

The final 24 hours before the paper should be a consolidation period for revision, not a full-fledged study spree. Take this time to go over summaries, and don’t make the mistake of copying out paragraph after paragraph – that time has passed. The most effective thing you can do now is to jog your memory by reading the cues you personally jotted down. That alone should do the trick but if you insist on being extra, choose to work on essay questions that test your understanding of broad theories.  

And when you’ve done all of the above, chuck your notes aside (but not too far away so you can still find them in the morning) and do what you’ve been wanting to do this whole time – SLEEP. Sleep is more important than you imagine because it helps your brain store all the juicy information you’ve worked so hard to learn. If you feel guilty, try sleeping on your notes. This will help you revise via osmosis and in the morning, you’ll find that your brain has absorbed its full contents. Or maybe not. 

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