Study for Exams the Smart Way

By Eur. Ing. João Paulo Ponciano, Dean & Senior Vice President. PSB Academy Pte Ltd.

Exams are probably amongst the most difficult moments of any school day. But don’t let nerves overwhelm you. For those facing tough tests, the latest advice is not to study hard, but to study smart and here are some tips for students.

The Pyramid of Power
The Pyramid of Power represents the structural and functional relationships between data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. Ascending the knowledge pyramid from noise and misinformation to achieve wisdom is not easy and it is argued that each level of the hierarchy is an essential precursor to the levels above.

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In most cases, memorisation corresponds to studying hard, not smart. Instead, focus your attention on the understanding and comprehension of the knowledge that is taught. If you cannot relate to a complex topic, it will be very difficult to understand it.

Controlling and motivating the self
Next step is to ask yourself how badly you want to succeed. This includes finding reasons why you are studying, what is your driving desire to succeed and where do you want to be after finishing your education. Once you find the answers to those questions, you will then set goals base on those answers.

A wise man once said “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and we cannot agree more with these pearls of wisdom, especially if one wants to study smart. When you write your goals down, avoid vagueness, negations and necessities. If your goals are specific, it is easier to see how close you are to achieving it. Work to create a revision and study plan and state how you intent to achieve those goal.

Gratification: Rewarding yourself
Gratify and reward yourself once the goals are reached. Before you start studying, set a specific and appropriate reward for completing each goal. The more ambitious challenges require an outstanding reward. Rewarding yourself is a way to motivate you to work harder and study smarter.

However if you still unable to get yourself motivated, “Force” yourself to do 15-20 minutes of studying for now and work out small achievable goals. If you are tired, get up and jump on the spot, take a shower (or the like).

Avoid distractions (TV, internet, email, telephone, smartphone), rather find the right kind of music that can help relax your mind which enables you to concentrate better. Music cuts down on distractions and helps you focus on your work.

Your Type of Studying
There are 4 types of learners:

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We have different way of studying but what is important is to find the most appropriate way that works for you.

Equally important is making sure you are prepared on the day of the exam. Have a good night sleep and a good healthy breakfast to give yourself the best chance possible of doing well in your exams. Exams might be tough, but the feeling when you walk out and know that you’ve done the best you can is priceless! We wish everyone who’s sitting them, and their parents, the best of luck.



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