Brace yourselves. Exams are creeping up on us and no word of a lie, they’re the bane of our existence.
While it would be grand to Yahoo Answers our way through
life the exams, it just can’t provide us with surefire hacks to get us through high school exams. We turn to our reliable pal Google who always has an answer, but all it can offer is endless articles that tell us to create a study schedule and craft some colourful flashcards.
Sure, these may be useful "hacks". But it’s time to cut the shit. This isn't some airy advice article; what you need are some hardline techniques to get you through this exam period in one piece.
1. Rote learn
Please – and this can’t be stressed enough – rote learn, god damn it. Rote learning is what will reward you in most high school exam circumstances, as it's simply memorising information by repeating it over and over until it's stuck in your brain.
If you're in need of an essay, create some general essays that you can tailor to any question in the exam and then learn that over and over until you have it memorised (although don’t go too specific because you never know what the question may ask you).
If you need to remember facts from a particular subject, write out summarised notes, keeping them sweet and succinct. Then summarise that summary again, making your notes even more concise. Then do that as many times as you can until you know the core elements of the subject off by heart.
The more you write out your essays and notes, the easier it will be for you to recall in the exam. It helps.
2. Record yourself reading notes and essays
This is a hack that may drive you nuts, but it can pay off in spades. Whip out ya phone and open up the Voice Memos app. Now, start recording yourself reciting your notes and essays. This way, you'll have audio of your notes that you can listen to at any time - on the bus, in the shower, on a walk or at the gym.
Even though you would rather bop along to your bangin' playlists, listening to your notes is a unique form of rote learning, particularly if you consider yourself an auditory learner. So give your wrist a break for a hot ten mins or so and listen to your angelic voice recite the dates of the Third Reich's rise to power.
Hell, even go to bed listening to your English essay. That way, your subconscious is doing the heavy lifting (or, if nothing else, it certainly helps put you to sleep).
3. Learn your syllabus
Your syllabus is the holiest of all documents. You need to know it like the back of your hand. Most of it, if not all, will be tested in the exam and your teachers aren’t trying to trick you when they say the syllabus is key.
Make sure you’re familiar with the concepts, topics and themes explored in each syllabus dot point - even the vocab of the syllabus is important. It’s a big ask to remember the syllabus and the content, but that brings me to my next hack.
4. Create page summaries of each syllabus dot point
This is a surefire way to cut down the amount of content you need to memorise for exams. If you’re in the process of making notes or haven’t even started studying- begin by listing out your syllabus dot points. Then fill in the gaps with summarised notes of the topics, concepts and case studies you covered in that dot point.
By limiting yourself to creating a page of notes to do with the topic, you’ll have an easier time memorising and won’t feel as overwhelmed. And if you feel like you’re missing something, email your teacher and ask them to have a look at it. They’ll be impressed.
5. Be your own teacher
Last and not least, become a teacher. Figuratively, of course. Teach yourself the content as if you were a teacher.
Pretend you’ve got an imaginary class in front of you or rather you’re trying to help one student gain a better understanding of concepts. Or actually try and teach a mate of yours so you can get feedback on areas you may need to improve. Doing this will help with expressing your ideas with clarity and show a detailed understanding in your exam- something that is marked very highly.
While these may be hacks, it’s still on you to actually do the work; time to get a bloody move on.
Need some help studying? Suss our Year 12 Survival Guide for study tips that actually work.