Making sure our IGCSEs go well is not a last minute task – it’s something we have to put effort in for consistently. That means doing a little bit of work outside of school hours. So many students forget how important a good study space is so let us run through a few tips you can follow that will help you create a productive IGCSE study space and have a big impact on your final results.
Tip 1: Study at your desk
We know this sounds simple but when you are feeling very sleepy the temptation is to try and study in your bed. While there is no substitute for snuggling up under your duvet, this will ALWAYS make you fall asleep. It is so much easier to focus if you are sat up straight at your desk with your work laid out in front of you. The truth is, your brain associates certain spaces with certain tasks and so only focusing at our desk means that our brain positively reinforces the idea of studying. If you’re someone who doesn’t have a desk or you still can’t focus there, feel free to experiment with where you work until your brain settles on a good location!
Maybe you’re someone that gets distracted at home by your family, then consider studying in the library or a coffee shop. If you’re in school then ask your teachers to find you a free classroom and go to study there. Computer rooms and school or public libraries are a good alternative.
Tip 2: Drink water
Staying healthy physically and mentally is key in succeeding in your IGCSEs. A really easy way you can help yourself, is by drinking water as you work. Many studies have shown that drinking water allows the brain to better process information, and thus allows you to concentrate and power through your assignments much better than if you were quenched for thirst!
You may be a big coffee drinker already, but water has many of the same properties as coffee in allowing you to wake up! So, next time you find yourself going for a coffee in the morning to wake yourself up, try getting a big glass of water instead (or invest in a large water bottle that you can keep on your desk at all times!) This also gives you a nice little study break when you can go and refill it, and this actually involves getting up from my desk (sounds sad, we know, but very useful!)
Want even more top IGCSE tips? Click here to download our FREE IGCSE Study Skills guide!
Tip 3: Have some snacks
There is nothing more motivating than having something nice to snack on while you study, and guess what? Your brain actually needs fuel to function. Mixed nuts or dried fruit are some Lanterna favourites to nibble on throughout the day. You could even choose a sweeter treat and reward yourself with it once you’ve finished some notes or a past paper! Just make sure that you don’t gorge yourself on treats, as a healthy diet is more important to your cognitive ability than you might think!
Tip 4: Take a Break
Perhaps the most important piece of advice: you need to take regular breaks from studying. As we mentioned in the App recommendation section, using a pomodoro-like technique with a five minute break every half an hour works wonders in terms of refreshing your brain. It might seem like you’re wasting time, but the productivity boost from taking a few minutes away from your laptop or notes is well worth it! It seems to be widely considered that ‘good studying’ equals ‘a long time studying’… We at Lanterna don’t think so at all. Typically some of the best studying happens when you’re able to sit down and be extremely focused for 20-30 minutes, and then rewarding yourself with a break! This way you will both remember more information as well as allowing your body and mind to get a well-earned break!
A couple of suggestions of what to do when you are taking a break:
- Take a little walk, even just around your house
- Reply to some texts (if you aren’t going to get carried away!)
- Watch a 3-5 minutes YouTube video (as long as it doesn’t lead you into the YouTube black hole…)
- Eat your study snacks
The most important thing is that during all of these breaks we’d recommend leaving your study space. If you start relaxing and taking breaks by your desk you are subconsciously tying the study space to the concept of relaxation. You want your brain to recognize, as soon as you sit down at your desk, that it’s time to work! So, as much as possible, only sit at your desk when you’re actually working!
In conclusion, if you arm yourself with a few of these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a productive IGCSE study space. If you’re looking for more advice or IGCSE help, click here to find out about the other services we offer!