Ever had those experiences where you felt like you studied a lot, but you still can’t grasp the concepts? Are you putting in the hours, but still fail to see an improvement in your tests? If that’s the case, it could be an issue with your method of studying.
When it comes to studying, it’s quality over quantity, any day. Of course, studying takes time, and last-minute studying is never the ideal situation. However, there are ways to make the most of your study time and make sure you are actually learning, internalising, and making connections.
If you are still stuck in the days of reading your textbook over and over again, or underlining every line of your notes without any direction, it’s time to try out some of these methods to transform your study sessions!
Engage a Tutor
Although not really a ‘study technique’, getting tuition has helped many students improve in their results and gain confidence in subjects they used to be weak in! One of the best parts of tuition is that you will have a subject expert to guide you, and they can even recommend the best way to memorise, study, or practice certain topics.
Whether you attend IP Math Tuition to catch up in school or combined science tuition to pull up your grades, our tutors can save you time by helping you understand the material well, before you go on to revise it again yourself.
Ah, the good ol’ mind map. It’s a method we are all familiar with – but before you go and start making mind maps for every single thing, do note that mind maps are best for big-picture summaries and connecting topics together.
In Future Academy, our tutors usually use mind maps at the beginning or end of topics, which serve as a summary and easy-to-refer cheat sheet for revision!
- Good for providing summary and making connections
- Especially great for humanities subjects
- Can be time-consuming
- Not ideal for revising small details
How to do it:
- Grab a piece of paper (a blank A4 or larger paper works best)
- Write the main topic in the middle of the paper
- Draw branches from the centre, pointing outwards, for each subtopic
- Add more branches from each subtopic, until you have written all the points
When you start planning your revision schedule early, you can try out the spaced practice method. Based on the idea that our brains work harder and make stronger connections when we try to recall something that we have almost forgotten, this distributed practice method spaces out revision sessions rather than focus on one thing for a prolonged time.
- Good for committing material to memory
- Avoids last-minute cramming
- Not feasible if it is already too close to your exams
How to do it:
Plan out your revision schedule using the below as a guide:
Day 1: Learn the topic in class.
Day 2: Review
Day 3: Review
After one week: Review
After two weeks: Review
You probably heard that writing notes helps with memory retention. Making your notes colourful can take that up a notch, and also create positive emotions associated with learning! But, beware of overdoing it, as your notes may become too messy and difficult to read.
- Easy to execute and incorporate into existing study routine
- Fun for artsy students who love decorating their notes
- Some students may be distracted or spend too much time decorating their notes
- Danger of overdoing it and creating messy notes
- Use colours that are contrasting enough to highlight different points or topics
- Be prudent with what you highlight or underline – only choose the most important points to colour
Need a way to memorise lists of information? For those chemical reactions, formulae, and other long lists that you find difficult to memorise, this technique exercises your recall ability and transfers knowledge into long-term memory.
- Suitable for memorising large amounts of information
- Builds up recall speed and confidence
- Needs to be done over a period of time to be effective
How to do it:
- Create flashcards with short recall questions and write the answer on the flip side
- Prepare 5 boxes, labelling them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
- Start with all the cards in box 1.
- Test yourself with the cards. If you get them correct, the cards move up a number to the next box. If you get them wrong, the cards go down a number to the previous box (or if the card was from box 1, it remains there).
- The idea is to go through box 1 to box 5 in decreasing order of frequency. For the cards you are most unsure of, you will go through them more frequently. For example:
Box 1: daily
Box 2: every 2 days
Box 3: every 4 days
Box 4: every week
Box 5: every 10 days
The Feynman Technique
Ever noticed how when you teach someone, you end up having a better understanding as well? Being able to explain what you know in simple and plain language is a way of making sure we really understand it. In a nutshell, that’s what the Feynman Technique is all about.
In our tuition classes, our tutors regularly invite students to share their answers and thought process. Verbalising these thoughts are a good way to learn and revise!
- Great for checking conceptual understanding, for example, after finishing revision on one topic
- Cannot rely on it to memorise key terms
Ways to use it:
- Be willing to peer-tutor your friends or juniors, as it helps you remember your material as you explain concepts to them
- Try teaching your family members and see if they can understand your explanations
- Quiz each other during a study group session!
The study method that works for you
We’ve shared a few different study techniques to help you revise your work more effectively, some of which are better for certain circumstances. Don’t be afraid to combine techniques and choose different ones for different subjects, or at different stages of your study – whatever works for you!
Some students may also find it useful to attend a top tuition centre to aid in their studies, as it gives them further opportunities to go through topics and learn in different ways to better internalise the information. We also have some sample practice questions on selected topics to get you started on your revision:
Secondary/IP Chemistry practice questions
Secondary/IP Math practice questions
Secondary/IP Physics practice questions
If you are looking for a tutor to supplement your study strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!