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Last Minute Study Strategies

Any student, whether they’re still in school, university or taking online distance learning courses, will find themselves in a situation where they will need to do some last minute study. These tips outline simple ways to boost your own memory retention and will equip you with the skills to study better at the last minute.


Ask yourself questions

The information you need is in your mind somewhere, the easiest way to get your brain firing on all cylinders is to ask it probing questions. When you’re making study notes, a simple study tip is to change the way you’re phrasing your notes; “Asking questions of yourself is good for memory retrieval” is a good study note, but a better way to write this is to put “What is good for memory retrieval?” in one column and “Asking questions of yourself” in another. When you’re revising you can cover all of the answers and test your brain as you revise.

Go back to basics

De-digitalise your study by turning off your laptop, computer of tablet. Surfing online after each bout of study is an easy habit to fall into. The process of physically writing down your study notes helps you to memorise them more than typing them does. You’ll also have the added benefit of enduring less eye strain from avoiding computer glare. If at all possible, turn off or mute your mobile phone, it is another distraction that could lead to aimlessly roaming the web.

Use mnemonics

A mnemonic is a simple way to translate big chunks of information into a smaller bite size piece that your brain can retain. An example of an excellent mnemonic is “My Very Easy Method Just Sums Up Nine Planets”, whereby the first letter of each word relates to the first letter of a planet in the solar system – starting with the closest to the sun and working outward to the furthest e.g. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Alas, Pluto’s recent demotion from planet status ruined an excellent mnemonic.

Stay Positive

A positive mental attitude will do wonders, and there are some simple ways to ensure that you’re in an upbeat frame of mind when you study. If you’re positivity is slipping remind yourself of what you have already achieved and concentrate on what you can achieve if you remain focused. Staying positive will boost your own self-confidence, which will serve you well in an exam or assessment situation.

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