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The following article is written by Jess Holsman, Deakin psychology graduate and founder of YouTube’s ‘Study With Jess’, where she gives advice to thousands of students around the world on effective study.
Being organised is key to establishing a productive study schedule and staying on top of the increasing workload that comes with preparing for final exams. Effectively organising your study sessions will help to not only minimise procrastination but also ensure you use your precious time wisely! Here are my top five tips for helping you organise your study sessions over the upcoming busy exam period.
Creating a study timeline will help you to effectively spread out your revision over the weeks leading up to your exams and assist you in dividing your time between each subject. Most importantly, planning your approach in advance will bring some much-needed structure into your study sessions, by giving you a sense of direction with how to use your time appropriately. To make sure that your study timeline covers all of the necessary topics, it can be useful to first make a separate study checklist. Be sure to not only write down the main topics you studied in class, but also the subtopics that will need to be revised.
You will likely find that your busy schedule consists of a range of homework tasks and revision exercises that vary in their level of urgency and importance. Although you might still be ticking off your long list of ‘to-dos’ during your study sessions, prioritising your tasks is extremely important, since you definitely don’t want to be structuring your precious study time around unnecessary or unimportant tasks! Prioritising tasks is an excellent way to ensure you dedicate the majority of your time to the most important tasks that will likely have the greatest impact on your overall performance and grades. Consider using a priority matrix to assist you in re-organising your tasks and prioritising those that are both urgent and important.
Your most productive studying typically occurs within the first 25 to 30 minutes of hitting the books, so try to structure your study sessions by organising them into 30-minute blocks. Studying for no more than 30 minutes at a time can help you maximise your productivity, stay focused and produce your highest quality work! Try and also break up your study sessions with short five to 10-minute breaks, to recharge your batteries and refuel your brain, so that you are able to absorb and consolidate the information.
Simply studying without direction is not effective. Make sure to consider what it is that you aim to accomplish by the end of each study session to give yourself some direction and keep you focused on the tasks at hand. Consider using the initial few minutes of your study session to create a to-do list and notice all of the tasks that require your attention for that one sitting. Setting yourself short-term goals each time you sit down to study can help to reduce procrastination and increase your motivation to get working!
Organising your study sessions effectively also means scheduling them during your peak-energy periods of the day. Try not to allow your study sessions to be influenced by your peers, friends or siblings, as each and every one of us tends to study best at different times of the day. Some students feel most alert and focused early in the morning, while others find that they are most productive and prefer to work in the afternoon or late at night when there are fewer distractions. Just make sure that if you do prefer to study late at night, that you are still getting plenty of sleep so you can focus the next day!
xo, Study With Jess
Check out some more great tips from Study With Jess in the video below.
Read more great study techniques and tips such as our piece on how to hack your final exams.
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