How I Study for Exams

I know this is a little off topic for me, but considering it's exam season and all, I thought I'd post it anyway. 

This is how I study for exams, and I'm not saying I'm a model student, but it hasn't seen me fail yet! Obviously everyone studies differently, but from talking to friends I know that my method is a little different, so thought I'd share. 

Just for some context: I'm talking about University level exams, and I study Law (undergrad). 

Treat First, Not After 
When I was in school, I was taught to motivate myself to revise by promising myself with a 'treat' afterwards or during breaks. Whether that was going out, a favourite snack, watching TV... whatever. For me personally, I like to reward myself by going out, from a small trip down to Starbucks, lunch out or a trip to the cinema - I hate staying in one place all day so I find a change of setting rewarding and refreshing. But I've always found that having the reward after is more distracting. I find that if I try to study all day before going out I end up being less able to concentrate because I think about what I'm doing later. That's just the way my brain works, I guess. So I like to get the going out portion out of the way first, so I don't begrudge having to stay in and study the rest of the day. That being said, I trust myself to actually focus once I've had my leisure time and not procrastinate. Once I'm "in the zone", I'm there for the duration. So I like to spend my morning watching TV, maybe pop out and get a coffee and have a wander around town, go out for lunch with my boyfriend - then once I'm home, I know that it's time to get to work. Maybe if you're prone to procrastinating you're likely to just keep pushing your leisure time further - but this is just the way I find is best to motivate myself. 
Don't Try and Cover Everything 
I know that realistically not every single topic is going to come up on the exam. Certainly the exams on my course tend to be structured so you have a choice of - for example - 2 questions out of 5, so there is some wiggle room to tailor the exam to my own knowledge. So I generally pick 3 topics I'm best at and focus on those. Plus I'd be unlikely to be able to remember more topics than that, so doing anymore is probably a waste of time for me. 

Don't Cram Outside the Exam Hall 
I get second hand anxiety when I see people rapidly reading text books and flash cards outside of the exam hall. It's just not for me. In fact, I don't even revise the morning of an exam really - I might go over my notes over breakfast but then I leave them. For me, I think a last ditch effort to remember more information is just going to make me panic and then forget everything. Especially if I spot something I'd missed and desperately try and stuff it into my brain - I'm just going to get nervous and throw my concentration. I'd much rather just try not to stress and accept that I can't do any more at this point and give myself a little pep talk instead!

From what I can tell most people do the exact opposite of what I do haha! But at the end of the day, it's up to you personally isn't it? What works for someone else may not work for you. But thankfully I've never failed an exam, the worst I've ever done was get a C in GCSE maths (which I didn't revise for at all, actually... I was always crap at maths) and I'm pretty good at staying calm during exam season, which I put down to having a good work/leisure balance and good perspective. It's just a couple of hours, it doesn't need to be traumatic.  

Good luck if you're doing exams and thank you for reading!

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