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Mr Chen's anecdotes.

How to create your perfect study schedule to prepare for your exams

With the recent move towards reducing the overemphasis on exams and grades, you may find yourself unprepared as major exams draw near.

It could be that you haven't gotten into the momentum that you should be in yet, or that you haven't been consistent with keeping up with homework and tutorials. Whatever it is, you've decided to buckle up, roll up your sleeves, and start studying.

And now, you're here, trying to think of a way to come up with a study schedule.

The first step to conquering any battles, is to plan ahead and prepare thoroughly. Here are some tips on how you can create your perfect study schedule to prepare for your exams.

1. Mark out all your exam / WA dates in your calendar

I cannot begin to count how many times a student told me "I dunno leh" (or simply just shrugged) when I asked for their WA / exam dates.

That's just ludicrous in my opinion, because if I were to ask them when's SYF or their A division, they'd gladly supply me with the date.

You may think that marking out the dates for your exams / WA on your calendar's superfluous. But marking out the dates does a few things for you.

Firstly, you get a sense of how soon your test is. This information tells you how much time you have left to prepare for it.

Secondly, this instills a sense of urgency in you. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that you should feel stressed out. This is more for getting you to be serious and mentally prepared.

Thirdly, doing so removes uncertainties. I've had a student who panicked the week before exams simply because he did not know when the actual WA date was. (Neither did his classmates.) My student spent that week trying to guess which day his test was on. Why subject yourself to such torture?

The next time you receive your WA / exam dates, write it down somewhere. Then transfer these dates onto your phone's calendar, or any other physical calendars you may be using.

2. Know what is being tested

Well, duh.

Knowing the dates aren't enough. You should also know:

  • the topics that are being tested

  • the test format

  • the weightage of the WA / exam for your final grade at the end of the year

3. Rank and prioritise

Now that you've determined all the above information, it's time to prioritise and strategise.

Here are some things to think about to help you prioritise what to study first:

  • Which are the earlier tests / WAs / exams?

  • How familiar are you with the topics tested? W hat are the topics that you weak at?

  • What kind of exam formats do you usually not do well for?

  • Are there a lot of content / topics that will be tested?

You can then prioritise what you need to study for, and one way you can do so is by using the Eisenhower Matrix (find out more about it here).

4. Schedule according to what you have prioritised

There are no hard and fast rules as to how you should create the schedule, but here are some tips that you could consider:

  • Scope out the other "serious" activities that you have in your schedule. For example, your CCA days, tuition and remedial classes, or any other extracurricular activities.

  • Allocate time each day for studying, based on the amount of time you have left after factoring in the "serious" activities. Be consistent. You could start with an hour for the first day, and slowly increase the duration. Consider incorporating the Pomodoro technique.

  • Allow for enough time for rest and leisure. Don't risk a burn out! Trust me, I've been there and it's no fun.

  • Be flexible. If you feel that you need more time for a topic, adjust your schedule accordingly.

  • If you find keeping to your schedule tough, create a visual timetable. Print it out and put it somewhere visible (e.g. right in front of your study desk).

One final tip - just start now

Don't be hyper focused on having to create the perfect schedule. Just start, and make adjustments along the way.

child superhero standing on top of papers

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