Study hacks to achieve excellence

32 best study hacks to achieve excellence in any exams

So your exams are fast approaching, and you are looking for the best study hacks to have excellent grades this semester. Worry no more. In this post, I will share with you 32 of the best study hacks that you can use to achieve 90+ in any exam; number 15 is my favorite and is what I used for my online quiz in electrical engineering that made me score 92 of 100 in my second year at the university.

Best study hacks to achieve excellence in any exams

Note you don’t have to do all 32 hacks. Just doing a couple of them that you are okay with can get the job done.

So enough talk, let us get right into the best study hacks and tips for your exam:

1. Eat well

Certain foods improve memory; you can use protein-rich foods to fuel your studies. Foods such as peanuts, beans, blueberries, avocados are good for study. Also, make sure that you drink a lot of water because it is essential to help your brain function well.

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2. Make a list

Before you study, it is good to have a kind of to-do list that you can list all the things you will cover in your study session, maybe like the chapters or pages you would like to go through, and tick them once you are done. It is a way to keep you organized. I do this a lot before I start a study. Before starting to study, I will list all the topics I need to cover in the back of my note or sometimes on paper. It keeps me focused and helps me stay systematic.

3. Chew gum

Chewing gum can help improve your memory and help you stay focused when you are studying. Research has shown that chewing gum increases the oxygen flow to your brain and improves concentration and alertness. Though it is not advisable to chew gum in class, some teachers won’t even allow you to do that.

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4. Interleaving

Instead of repeatedly practising the same thing, the benefits are huge if you mix up or vary the challenge. For instance, I like starting with a theoretical subject and then moving to a calculation subject later.

5. Set deadlines

I do this a lot; I like setting a target on what I will achieve; this helps me treat it as urgent for me to meet my deadline. For instance, I can say that I will solve four practice problems in an hour, which helps monitor my goals and progress.

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6. Put on soft music

Try listening to some music when you study specifically; research has shown that playing music when you are studying helps your memory and concentration; this applies to classical and ambient sounds played at a low volume helps. I like playing soft instrumental kinds of sounds.

7. Use mnemonics

A great way to help you remember things is to use mnemonics. For example, you can use; Please Do Not Touch Steve’s Pet Alligator to remember the order of layers in the OSI model, which stands for Physical, Data Link, Network, Transport, Session, Presentation, and Application. You did not have a mnemonic to help you remember everything but when it is available, definitely try to use it because it will make remembering that particular thing much easier. If you feel creative, you can make up your own and share them with others.

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8. Try online lesson

If you are getting bored of reading your textbooks, you can try doing some online lessons like watching YouTube tutorials; there are many free lessons on YouTube covering a range of topics. It feels more interactive, and sometimes, I do this first before reading the course material.

9. Record yourself

I know this might sound awkward, but it helps; try recording your lesson using a recording device. It could be with your phone. I do this a lot, too. I like recording so that maybe when I am heading home, I can listen to it, and it helps improve my memory of the concept that I am learning.

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10. Study in a group

Try making a study group. Study groups help you memorize information better because of a few things. Firstly by talking and asking questions, you are actively memorizing and organizing information; most likely, you will also be teaching your friends at some point, which helps, and also they help you accountable, making sure you don’t slack off, make sure you guys stay on track and don’t get too distracted. Doing this is one of the most effective ways to learn. I learned a lot just by discussing a lesson with my classmates.

11. Avoid distraction

Electronic devices are a big distraction so remember to turn off your phone and television when you need to use your computer or laptop during your study session. Stay away from social media, email and off-topic websites. The phone can distract students during the study session, so keep your phone away.

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12. Use a whiteboard

Writing and drawing it several times can be very helpful if you struggle with something. And by using a whiteboard, you can do it as many times as you want without wasting any paper; you can also use a whiteboard for practice problems, especially if it is a test you solve and you don’t need to keep your calculation afterwards. You can get a cheap one from the amazon website.

13. Find a study space

Where you study is important, so if you don’t think you will get much done with your friends, then study by yourself. At home, find somewhere without distractions. Not in the living room where your favourite Netflix show is on. Pick a clean and tidy space because cluttered spaces often lead to cluttered minds and increase stress and anxiety. You don’t have to be obsessed with eliminating clutter every time, but it would help to find a mess-free spot so you can concentrate.

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14. Figure out your zone

Learn about what works for you, like some students are morning larks, while others are night owls. Some can focus better with white noise in the background, while others prefer complete silence. Try different studying techniques and times to check out which are the most effective for you.

15. Use study timetable

Having a timetable helps organize your time schedules your breaks. It is especially useful when you have multiple subjects to study, set a reasonable limit for how much time you will likely spend studying each day, and break your session into manageable chunks of time. I did not start this early, and I underestimated the value of having a timetable, but don’t be like me. Having a personal timetable keeps you organized.

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16. Use Feynman techniques

The Feynman Learning Technique is a simple way of approaching anything new you want to learn. It involves the following; Pretending to teach a concept you want to learn about to a student in the sixth grade, Identifying gaps in your explanation. Going back to the source material to understand it better and then organizing and simplifying it.

17. Use Pomodoro techniques

Pomodoro technique means that you study for 20 to 30 minutes, taking a short break. We all have a limit before our attention begins to wander, so studying for a shorter and more frequent burst keeps our brain attentive.

For instance, you can pick a specific task you want to study and then study it for 20 to 30 minutes without losing focus and getting distracted, and then you take a 5 minutes break. You can choose to reward yourself with whatever you like, and it could be watching YouTube videos, a snack, or even a short game. I like watching Facebook videos.

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18. Formulate your question

Please write down your questions about the lecture and later review them. For every page that you read, write down everything you recall on a piece of paper; this is active recall, and it helps in long term memorization; plus, it is a good indicator of whether or not you are paying attention.

19. (Re)Write your notes

When you study, it’s ten times more effective to write notes than just read your textbook when you study. If you don’t have the opportunity to go over your notes ever again, writing them alone helps you memorize the information, and no highlighting and underling your textbook, and not as effective as writing out notes!

READ ALSO: How to memorize notes in one night

20. Sleep after studies

Sleeping will help improve your memory of what you have just learned. Seven to eight hours of sleep improves your score because it will help you improve your ability to think logically and keep your immune system strong. Enough sleep is important for concentration. I sleep a lot that my course-mates do call me sleeping beauty. But whenever I wake up to read, it sticks.

21. Speak out loud

Speaking out loud is also a great way to learn. You might feel a little ridiculous but speak out loud to yourself, and saying the words aloud might help you pay attention and absorb the message properly.

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22. Teach a friend

One of the best ways to help you remember what you are studying is to teach it to one of your friends. Doing this forces you to understand the topic much better, and therefore, you remember more when it comes to exam time. Also, while studying, always remember that you will teach your friend later. This realization will make you study hard so that you can teach them well, and also, if they should ask a question, you will be able to answer.

23. Use flashcard

You may choose to use either a digital or a paper flashcard; whichever you choose, flashcards are a great way to retrieve information. I love using them to write my list item, complex equations, and formula that I feel is important to memorize. Trust me; it helps a lot.

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24. Test yourself

A secret I normally use is to test myself before reading the material. It would be best if you tried it sometimes. Though answers generated by the brain may be wrong, you be forced to be creative, and you may end up priming your neurology to remember that information later.

That is linked to the hyper-correction effect, so sometimes getting the wrong answer at first may even be more effective. The hyper-correction effect finds that you are much more likely to remember the correct answer when you mistake some general information and later find out you were wrong.

25. Use mind maps

Mind maps are also a great way I used to recall information. For instance, for the note I took during a lecture while studying, I can create a big circle in the middle of the page with the main topic and then break it down into different topics, headings, or parts, and then I will write the minor detail beneath it, trust me it works 100 per cent of the time.

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26. Space your study

The forgetting curve says that information is lost over time when there is no attempt to reinforce it. So while studying, be sure to review what you have just learned maybe every 20minuites. The idea here is to practice and wait long enough for you almost to forget the material and then practice again. Try not to study for long hours; you might not notice each time you study for long hours. As time goes by, you will get more distracted and less focused. So try to take breaks.

27. Practice repetition

There are a lot of hacks that I have recommended but above all, practice repetition and frequency. The brain works by repeating the same information over and over. Repetition does not necessarily mean you should memorize, but it regularly revisits the information.

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28. Use old class materials.

Using old class material is another of my secrets that I used, and it works a lot for me. Every end of the semester, I will go to my senior in schools to collect their old materials, such as quizzes, test question papers, past homework, and notes, and then read them during the holiday. And during the semester, I used them as reference material. Many teachers do use test questions or at least set the same style of question. And so, getting those old questions can help you identify what you want to study for and what style you want to prepare for, and of course, it will bring down the anxiety a little bit because you know what to expect.

29. Learn the hard stuff first

Focus on learning what you don’t already know. I mean that you should focus on the hard stuff and avoid spending time on the simple stuff that you already know. In my engineering undergraduate days, I spent more time on calculus than on general courses like the use of English. And it helps because it helps me have balance grades.

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30. Make friends with your teacher.

Making friends with your teacher is very great advice. Let your teacher know you, visit them during office hours, ask them for help when you need it, be a respectful, diligent student while you are in class. If they know you as someone serious when you have issues, there will be an inquiry to know the problems, what made you not perform well, and sometimes they might be more careful when marking your script.

31. Believe

Believe in yourself. Believe in your ability. I know you got this. So always believe in yourself, your dreams, life, and miracles, and you will be unstoppable.

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32. Don’t compare

Lastly, don’t compare yourself to other people. You might see these students who seem naturally gifted and get high marks without doing much work. But don’t let that affect how you study. Marks at school don’t necessarily mean a lot in the real world, and I can confidently tell you that hard work beats natural talent ninety times out of a hundred if talent does not work.

Bonus tip: Remember home

Remember your parents are trying their best for you to succeed. So make them proud, do your best, give your best shot, stay motivated, stay strong.

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No matter the study hacks you choose to follow, there will ultimately be the same result that helps you achieve excellence in any of your exams. Choose the ones you are most comfortable with and follow them diligently. Which ones will you choose, and which one have you been using? Let me know in the comment section.

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