How to Study Smarter and Not Harder!


This article was written by Jeffrey Pullin, a current tutor and contributor to the site. 

Over the course of Year 12, you are going to be spending a lot of time studying. It can be difficult, however, to know how to get the most out of this time. In this article, I’m going to outline some of the tips and tricks I have learnt in my (extensive) time studying.

Tip 1: Recognise type

In my experience, what you need to learn for any given subject can usually be broken down into three categories: skill, understanding and memory – all of which require different ways of revising. Different subjects are made up of different percentages of each part, math, for instance, is mainly skill and understanding, while biology has a big memory component. Once you understand the composition of any subject you can tailor your study accordingly. For mathematics, for example, building skill by doing more practice problems is a more efficient use of your time than building memory be creating amazing notes. For biology, however, the reverse would be true! Identifying these skills within subjects can therefore really improve your studying efficiency.

Tip 2: Know yourself and be (a bit) critical

It is a truism that no one knows you as well as you know yourself. But how can you turn this self-knowledge into better results? Often we know our own areas of weakness but don’t want to address them as we are fully aware of how much work it will take to fix them! To get around this mentality set yourself small, easily achievable goals in the areas you struggle with and work to achieve them. Also, once you’ve identified a problem it can often be a good idea to bring it to your teacher, who may not be aware of it and get their advice on how to tackle it.

Tip 3: Quality over quantity

There is a temptation, particularly in the latter part of Year 12, to devote every available hour to study. At the time this seems like a good idea, right? More study must surely equal better results! Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. The study that really counts – that allows you to understand concepts and correct mistakes – takes energy and focus, it simply can’t be done when tired or in short periods of time. In addition, forcing yourself to study more can also make you study less as you become burnt out and end up doing less work over the long run. To avoid these pitfalls, try to get into a consistent study routine that prioritises quality work at times when you are alert and focused.

Hope these tips were helpful. Happy studying!

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How to Study Smarter and Not Harder!

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