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Sneaking In Some Study - A 'How-To'

ATAR Notes

It can sometimes feel as though there’s simply no time to study, or that there’s just way too much content to remember. Hopefully, some of the techniques listed in this article will help you to build up your study minutes. Remember: little decisions like these can really add up, and result in considerable improvements.

1. Using your commute time.

Many students have a bit of a commute to get to where they need to be. If this commute is regular, you can imagine how long you actually spend in the car, or on trains, or on buses, or whatever the case may be. If you can work out a productive way of using this time, great! Some ideas:

  1. Watch lectures or revision videos while commuting. Obviously only if you’re not driving!

  2. If possible, simply listen to those lectures/videos without the visual cues.

  3. And if safe, you can use the time just to think about the content at hand. This is a really underrated way of studying – just thinking about content can help you to connect the dots, see things in a different light, or highlight the areas you need to work on most.

2. Record yourself.

If you have definitions to learn, record them. If you’re trying to get your head around some tricky concepts, record them.

There are two advantages here.

Firstly, the process of actually going through and seeing what you need to know can be advantageous. For example, if you’re going to record yourself speaking about one particular topic, it’s going to be most useful if you first condense what you need to know in a nice little summary. And writing summaries in the first place means you really have to think about what you’re writing; you have to think about what’s most important, what’s expendable, how concepts are linked, and so on.

And secondly, having those recordings means you can play them to yourself at practically any time. If you have a spare few minutes, chuck on your headphones, and listen. Really listen. If it goes well, the process will help you consolidate the information you’re trying to commit to memory.


3. Use your house!

Chuck up reminders or summary sheets around your house – on the fridge, on the bathroom door, and so on. Instead of sitting on the toilet and mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, you can sit on the toilet and remember some formulae. Such fun!

But more than that, you can also use places you know (such as your house) as part of the method of loci. Wikipedia explains it well, but essentially, you associate certain information with certain locations and, when you mentally re-trace your steps, the idea is that the information will become easier to recall. Pretty cool, and you can do this at any time!

4. Speak at to other people.

If you’re cooking dinner, or just chilling waiting for dinner, why not make the most of the time by chatting to your family, housemates, or anybody else is around? They might not want to listen, and that’s cool – but if they’re happy to have you speaking, the sheer act of verbalising information can really help to consolidate it. For example, if you’re trying to learn about one particular law, if you try to verbalise the concept but get stuck in certain places, you know exactly where you need to increase your knowledge base.

When it comes to the exam, you might even be able to recall these verbal revision sessions, and this can help with memory recall, too.

5. Get to places a little early.

If you have the choice between a train that gets you somewhere a little bit early or a little bit late, take the early one. Then, use those five or ten minutes to revise with, say, flashcards. In fact, flashcards are a really good idea when it comes to sneaking in a bit of study here and there. Once they’re made, you can use them at practically any time, and because they’re quite small, they’re pretty innocuous! Big win.

You should also check out this article on 18 different ways to study; there will no doubt be some ideas very applicable to you and your study situation.

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