Exams are one of the most challenging aspects of the senior years of high school. There is so much for senior students to learn, keep organised and remember as they approach their final exams. Henry is a student mentor at Optimise Learning. His ATAR of 98.8 was the result of the focused and effective study routines that he developed and maintained throughout the year. In this blog post, Henry shares the top tips that assisted him to prepare for and succeed in his final Year 12 exams.
Hey senior students! It’s that time of year again, your final exams are looming and you are studying very hard for them. Here are a few exam preparation tips and tricks to help you get ahead of your studies and smash your final exams!
Establish a Study Routine
Achieving highly in Years 11 and 12 is all about studying consistently. Completing 6 days of 30-minute study sessions is more effective than a single 3-hour session once a week for exam success. Try to establish a good study routine which:
- prioritises frequent study,
- focuses on course content,
- involves attempting exam-type questions,
- uses study and ‘no’ study spaces.
Try to study during the time of the day that works best for you. For me, I found it hard to study during the evenings at home. The following study routine worked best for me.
My Study Routines:
- Last year, I would arrive at school at 8 am, well before class. I would spend an hour before school each day revising course concepts.
- After school, I would study in the library until 5pm. At 4:30 pm I would start attempting a practice exam question.
- As my weekends were pretty busy – sport on Saturday, work on Sunday – I didn’t have much time to study on Saturdays or Sundays.
- Studying at school, before and after school meant that I rarely had to study in the evenings when I felt tired. This routine also enabled me to use home as a place to relax.
Good habits might feel difficult to form at first, but once they are established they are pretty easy to stick to. Make sure to review and adjust your study routine now if you can. With exams only just over one month away, it is really important to make these next few weeks count so you too can experience exam success.
Look After Yourself
Studying can be very tiring. At this stage of the school year, most students feel pressured and worn out, particularly those who have had to manage the challenges associated with lockdowns. The routines below helped me a lot in the lead up to my final exams and contributed to my exam success. I suggest that undertaking at least some of the activities below in the lead up to your exams will benefit your energy and stress levels:
- Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat healthy food, as your body needs to be looked after too!
- Develop a bedtime routine. Your brain and body need at least 8 hours of sleep each night to fully recharge. Having a consistent bedtime with no late nights will leave you feeling more sharp and attentive during your exams.
- Get plenty of exercise! Get out and have plenty of fresh air. Take regular breaks! Exercising frequently helps keep blood moving and oxygenated in your brain.
- Set some time to be social, even if you need to do this in an online forum. Whether it be a Friday evening, or a Saturday afternoon, setting a time to spend with friends allows you to unwind without impacting your study load.
Keeping yourself organised is important for making your study more efficient. Sick of not being able to find your notes from Term 1? Here are some tips on how I stayed organised, which assisted my preparation for my final exams.
How to organise yourself?
- Have a neat and tidy filing system that gives you quick and clear access to your notes.
- Develop a study schedule that keeps you on top of your assessments and gives you an indication of when you need to study.
Creating good study notes is vital. See my suggestions below:
- Keep your study notes separately from your problems/workings and practice essays.
- Summarise the content of your notes into one A4 sheet of paper before each assessment.
- KISS Principle – Keep It Simple and Straightforward
- Use a photocopier to shrink and combine notes pages if you need to take them into the exam (applicable for Application, Methods and Specialist Mathematics)
Here is an example of my study notes that I used for my Methods Exam in Year 12 (click to enlarge):
Student Mentor, Optimise Learning