1. Distractions Kill Success
I used to listen to the Fresh Prince theme song on a loop while I studied for the IB. Some people might like to Whatsapp their friends while revising. Others prefer to sit in the lounge and listen to the TV in the background. We all like to do fun things that can make boring work a bit better. Thing is, all this stuff sucks your attention. Despite what you might have heard it is impossible to multitask. In fact, any background noise with words steals your ability to concentrate. So make sure any music is instrumental and shut everything else out!
2. Position is Primary
Mix up your studying! Working in one place all the time can be really boring. In fact it can actually drain your focus! Don’t take my word for it, Psychologist Dr. Bjork studied this exact process. He asked two groups of students to help him. Both groups were asked to study a list of 40 words. One group studied in just one room. The other moved around, and it was this group who aced the final test. Dr. Bjork explained his results in the New York Times, saying – when the outside context is varied, information is enriched, and this slows down forgetting. Nice.
SO try studying in different places (a bedroom, library or maybe a coffee shop) and give yourself a better chance of remembering content.
3. MAXIMIZE practice-testing:
Wow, there are so many ways to study! So surely it’s a case of just picking the one you like and going with that? WRONG! Not all study-methods were created equal. In fact there is one method that is significantly more effective than any other – and this is testing yourself. If you do the questions from past IB papers, even a couple a day, this is more useful than any other method. In fact, for any studying, testing yourself is always the most efficient way to learn. Don’t believe me? The study’s right here.
4. Don’t work into the night!
We’ve all been there. Staying up in the middle of the night writing an essay seems like such a sensible idea, especially when your work is due in for tomorrow. However, staying up late doesn’t just make you tired. It also makes you…really dumb. How much does lack of sleep impair cognitive ability?
(In China some students use washing lines to keep themselves awake while they study before University Entrance Exams)
Well here’s a scary fact: getting only 6 hours sleep per night for two weeks leaves you with the same mental capacity as if you had been awake for 48 hours. And the really scary part about this is that you won’t be able to judge that your abilities have been impaired.
How long will the effects of just one night missed sleep last? Up to four days according to this 2008 study. All nighters, really aren’t worth it.
5. Stop Cramming
Lots of students think they are able to study best when they are cramming. They think that by studying for 2 hours straight they will be able to remember more information. Nothing could be further from the truth. Spacing your work out into blocks with breaks in between is the best way to remember new material.
The overall most effective method is the Tomato Method, which you can read about right here.
If you are dedicated and follow these tips you are bound to be successful…
(Now that’s dedication!)