Strategy 4: Other Suggestions
When we’re under high levels of stress, our cortisol levels increase, resulting in the production of ‘mind-blocking agents’ in the brain. These ‘mind-blocking agents’ affect our ability to remember and apply information, reducing SAC and examination marks. To make matters worse, the amount of information that the brain can process drops significantly, increasing the time it takes to prepare for tests and exams. Therefore, start your exam preparations early so you can avoid the detrimental effects of stress.
Commit as much information to memory before the start of Term 4. Most students leave their exam preparations to the last minute – periods where performance is greatly reduced by anxiety and stress. If you start exam preparations earlier, you will receive a higher ATAR result.
Chip Away at Your Studies
Take advantage of every opportunity to prepare for your exams. A little study “here and there” can add up to significant amounts of time. As an example, if you put aside just 15 minutes each day for learning across 3 months, you would reduce your exam preparations by about 23 hours!
Writing Notes in Class
Minimise the amount of notes you write while a teacher is delivering their class. Students who divide their attention between listening, watching, comprehending and writing notes will only remember about 5% of what was presented 48 hours later – as opposed to 50% if they didn’t write at the same time. You’re also likely to miss vital concepts, resulting in additional study requirements outside school hours.
Sleep, Memory & Learning
During REM sleep, your brain consolidates and processes the information you’ve learned during the day, forms neural connections that strengthen memory, and replenishes its supply of neurotransmitters. The more REM stages per night, the greater the amount of information that is stored in long-term memory. Therefore, aim for at least 7.5 hours of sleep on regular nights and at least 9 hours on days spent preparing for tests and exams.
Extend Beyond What You Learn at School
Extend your knowledge beyond what you learn at school, and read the most popular text books being used across the state. This will expose you to the same information and applications being delivered to other VCE students, giving you a better chance of outperforming a greater number of your subject peers.