Studying smart and overstudying are two entirely different things

In a year there are at least four tests and examination cycles, there is one before every vacation – March, June, September, December. The endless mad rush between meeting assignment deadlines and poring over the seemingly mundane textbooks become a joyless dread. I for one did not relish the thought of flipping textbook pages at home when there were movies to watch, magazines and novels to read and the phone to occupy my time (during the time when I was in secondary school, the internet was not a household necessity so I only had access when I visited the internet cafes).

However, facts are facts and we still have to find means and ways to get through the exams stress so that we can move on and enjoy our holidays to the fullest. I knew I went through it, and it was not an easy path. But I managed to make study more fun than the usual highlighting of paragraphs to memorize, ten- year series practice, tuition lessons and mind-mapping. I shall share what little bout of creativity I have so that studying is no longer just a chore but something rewarding. Yes, rewarding – not just for the results,
but more!

Firstly we have to explore a little and find out what is the most conducive environment for us. I tried group study sessions at cafes, at the airport, over at friends’ houses; then I tried to study on my own.

Group study to me was beneficial only because we could voice our doubts and someone always had a solution to share; we could also motivate each other to work harder and plan for group outings or trips were we to dowell. Though, there were many distractions because some of them preferred to eat while studying, some of them kept having to visit the restrooms or check their pagers, while some had the habit of reading aloud so soon enough, every flipping of pages, every rustling sound of pants when someone got up to stretch and every aroma of food brought over to the table became disturbances. I deduced that for me,
I needed complete and solo concentration probably because my attention span is very short … and I decided that group sessions are more suitable for project discussions.

Studying alone or in pairs gave me the greatest satisfaction because I had discretion to do anything like putting on music (I could not do without music at that age), little snacks and other than that, relative silence because honestly there wasn’t much noise a pair could make except for the occasional gossip when taking breaks in between. I remember studying in pairs was fun because we would either quiz each other (with treats such an ice-cream or chocolates as rewards) every two hours. It made studying challenging and sped up the process since we knew we had a time frame allocated to us; it eliminated procrastination. Sometimes, instead of the usual quizzes, we would each study a chapter and then impart
the knowledge to the other; by teaching we re-assessed our understanding of the topic and it was a kind of short cut.

When I studied alone I also implemented the “treats” system by quizzing myself or scoring on the ten- year series. I also always had a magazine or favorite novel on hand so that I would complete a chapter of my teztbook and then indulge myself a little by reading a chapter of my novel. It was a simple form of motivation and reward to add fun to studying so that I knew that at the end of every chapter I would get to do something enjoyable. When I was feeling disciplined enough, I would set the reward as 15 minutes of a nice movie or a music video. It really added to the enjoyment of studying. However this method is unsuitable if I was studying last minute because there would be no time to squeeze in those little relaxing and fun pleasures amidst sponging up the contents of the textbooks. Which was why I tried not to do last minute revision but instead I set out a leisurely pace.

Vitamins, exercising and aromatherapy also help to give that extra boost so that we are more energetic and help us to combat off some of the stress we feel. Hope this little essay has given a brighter perspective of revision!