According to Vineet Ladia, co-founder and firector of mobile learning app company, Edukite South Africa, weak performances in matric final exams don’t mean the end of the road for learners. However, achieving better results can help them realise their dreams and will greatly influence their potential opportunities in the future.
“Learners shouldn’t be despondent leading up to exams. With the advent of technology, there are several platforms learners can use to bolster their studying techniques,” he says.
The key to studying successfully lies in studying smarter, not harder, and while adequate sleep and regular exercise are key, Ladia suggests five tips to help learners succeed.
Simply reading and re-reading text or notes is not actively engaging in the material, and leads to learners quickly forgetting the content. Instead, learners need to actively engage with the material by formulating their own questions, creating their own notes, extracting examples that relate to their own experiences, and creating maps or diagrams that explain the material.
The majority of us have experienced the mad study rush as we cram for an exam at the last minute. Sadly, this can often end in sub-optimal results and even failure. Instead, it is more effective to study 2-3 hours every day. This is because the brain requires time to organise all the information it has processed into its long-term memory bank, most of which is done during sleep.
Effective studying requires a dedicated work space. While it may be tempting to study in bed or on the couch, this can lead to learners becoming distracted or even falling asleep. Learners should instead find a space they can dedicate to studying, even if it’s small. It will mean fewer distractions and greater focus on the task at hand. Most importantly, digital distractions such as social media must be completely avoided during study time. These strategies can make a huge difference in both the study time and the information that is retained.
Flashcards have proven effective in helping learners familiarise themselves with information. Expanding on this, research shows that breaking down information into groups assists learners in retaining the information they have just covered. Referred to as “chunking”, it is an essential tool for learners wanting to learn a “chunk” of information in a short time. These flashcards can also prove a very useful tool during revision to make sure that you’re able to revise all the key points on a topic quickly and effectively.
As Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough,” and this is exactly what learners should aim to do. Teaching others is a surefire way to identify any gaps that require attention, and learners should find a friend or family member who they can explain a specific topic to and who can ask them questions for clarification. Saying the information out loud as if they were the teacher, can help the learner gain a more thorough understanding of the topic.