It’s February and in university towns all over the country you can see the desk lamps glowing deep into the night as students try and cram in some last minute revision. Everyone knows this isn’t the best way to study however, and with some forethought and a bit of planning it’s perfectly possible to steer clear of the dreaded ‘all-nighter’. Here’s how:
Use your calendar
Exams, tests and assessments don’t suddenly appear out of thin air, they’re scheduled well in advance. This gives you plenty of time to prepare and plan so that you can give yourself time to absorb information and then retain it. Of course, you don’t want to start too early in the year (and it’s difficult to revise over Christmas and New Year) but you’ll be amazed at how much getting a head start helps you retain facts and figures – and at how much it reduces your stress levels.
Find a study buddy
Get together with someone else and revise together. You don’t have to be mates necessarily, because a good study buddy needs different characteristics to a good friend. Pair up with someone more diligent than you and they’ll be a good influence, choose someone a bit wayward and you’ll have the satisfaction of keeping them on track – and if you’re studying the same course then both of you will also be revising when you’re testing each other.
Turn off distractions
Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are great fun, but they’re also terrible distractions. Try and revise away from your computer, tablet or phone and if that’s not possible investigate those apps and programs that allow you to ‘block’ social networks for a specified period (there’s no point in blocking the Internet because you’ll probably need to use that). Try Googling ‘block online distractions’ and you’ll find plenty of suggestions.
Use the help that’s available
Too many students ignore the practical, structured help that’s available from their university in terms of catch-up classes, study groups, revision aids (yes, many students arrive at university simply not knowing how to revise and need to be shown how) and even personal tutors. Talk to the staff and student advice centre and find out what revision advice is on offer – and don’t be shy of asking for help.
P.S. All nighters don’t always work anyway…
Finally, research suggests that you need eight or nine hours of sleep to be at your best, so pulling an all-nighter may simply be counter-productive, and instead of arriving at the exam fresh and well-rested, you’ll be exhausted (and probably jittery from all the caffeine you’ve gone through trying to stay awake!).