There is a lot of information out there about what to do to prepare for exams. Now let’s take a look at three counterproductive study practices and how to avoid them if you can!
Cram (known as massed practice)
Let’s be honest, it’s common to leave readings and learning to the last minute. Sometimes it can be effective if you just need to retain the information for a very short period. However, overall it is a poor method for retaining information over a longer period. Remember, beyond exams, you will need to know this information for your job. You don’t want to lose it from your brain, the second the exam is finished.
How to avoid cramming: Set a study schedule for the next few weeks and stick to it, rather than leaving it to the night before.
There is no such thing as multi-tasking. If you believe you can multi-task, then really the only talent you have is being able to switch quickly between tasks. Rapid switching between tasks consumes large amounts of mental energy and can impair performance on all tasks.
How to avoid multi-tasking with your study: Focus on studying one thing at a time, taking regular breaks in between topics and ideas to recharge.
After reading something a couple of times, any further reading adds little to your learning, making it wasted effort.
How to avoid getting in a cycle of repeated reading: Instead of constant re-reading, introduce active strategies such as summarising, flash cards and self-testing after a couple of reads.
These evidence-based tips have been collated, courtesy of the Flinders Health, Counselling and Disability Service (HCDS). If you are interested in reading other similar content visit the Student Health and Wellbeing blog.