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The countdown to the National Senior Certificate Examinations has begun. Here are 10 tips to studying successfully for the final exams of your schooling careers.

Tip 1: Planning and scheduling

Use planning tools such as a calendar, a diary or an electronic device. Take time to plan your time and stick to your  schedule.

Tip 2: Exam timetable

Your study timetable is vital in ensuring you do adequate preparation before your exams. Your timetable must be divided into days and study sessions of 45 to 55 minute sessions.

Each session must be specific and realistic. For example, you must list exactly what subject and section you will be studying and for exactly how long you expect to take to finish it.

Tip 3: Go with YOUR flow

If you know you’re a morning person, use the morning to do most of your studying. If you’re a night owl, do most of your studying in the evening.

However, don’t avoid studying during the day if you do have free time during that period – use the time available to your advantage!

Tip 4: Know what kind of learner you are

If you need to talk when you study, then stick to this by teaching yourself or an imaginary class. If you need to draw when you study, use bright colours and make use of mind maps.

If you are easily distracted and need to be moving all the time, then play with a stress ball or fidget spinner while studying, or pace up and down when revising.

Tip 5: Note taking and summarising

Good notes and summaries are crucial in ensuring that you retain the information learnt. First, read your class notes/textbook and underline headings, keywords and important   information.

Next, summarise the underlined items in your own words, and separate your notes into paragraphs and related sections. Remember that your summaries must be done a few weeks before you start revising and revision should start at least two weeks before your first exam.

Tip 6: Mind maps

Use mind maps to combine all your relevant sections together on one page. Colour similar sections alike and use little pictures and word associations to help you remember things.

Tip 7: Your study environment

Always study at a desk, have a comfortable chair where you can sit up straight (do not lie down or slouch), have good lighting and enough circulation of fresh air. Make sure there are no distractions. A quiet study environment is generally better, although some kinds of neutral classical music are found to be conducive to studying. 

Consider getting an essential oils burner to fill the room in which you are studying with aromas that will help you stay alert and feeling fresh. Citrus oils such as orange, citronella and lemon, as well as oils like rosemary and lemongrass will help you stay attentive while studying.

Tip 8: Study sessions

Your study sessions should ideally be 45 to 55 minutes each, with a break of not more than 15 minutes in between. During these study breaks, leave the room in which you are studying.

Tip 9: Test yourself

Try to get hold of past tests and exams. Set aside time to write it (under exam conditions) and use a stopwatch to time yourself. When you’re done, use the memo to mark yourself. Then focus on areas in which you were uncertain. You can also consider asking a family member or friend to quiz you on the work you have covered. Alternatively, you can explain the work to someone to ensure that you understand it correctly.

Tip 10: Don’t fear what you can’t avoid

If there is a section of work you know you may be examined on and with which you struggle, focus time on that section and conquer it. It is better to be prepared for it than to be in denial about the inevitable.