4 Top study tips from a 99.45 ATAR graduate
Sometimes, the hardest part of studying is knowing where to start! Deciding how to plan your time, which note-taking technique to use or where to go for help can feel overwhelming.
Luckily for you, Atomi content creator and recent graduate Bede Taylor recently hosted a webinar ‘how to level up your study skills’ and his insights were too good not to share…
Read on to discover his top 4 tips to ace your assessments 💪
1. Create a timeline
By making a plan ahead of time, you can avoid last-minute cramming and reduce your stress levels closer to exams. There are four key timeframes to think about:
Throughout the term
During this stage, preparing quality notes and consistent revision is the main priority. Aim to write your notes on a weekly basis to stay on top of the work, when content is fresh in your mind. It’s also a good idea to continually complete small revision tasks throughout the term–this helps consolidate your knowledge and improve the quality of your notes.
You may see these methods as a bit of a hassle, but there are a few reasons why this can dramatically increase your uptake of the content:
- Increased retention: By revisiting the content straight away, it’s more likely to get stored in your long-term memory, so the work covered during class doesn’t get forgotten as the bell rings. Try completing a small quiz or revision worksheet when you get home from school each day.
- Better understanding: By writing notes soon after class, information will be clearer as the content is fresh in your mind. This means you can write in a way that you best understand, which helps when revisiting the content months later.
- Avoid cramming: Chipping away at the notes gradually throughout the year can help you to avoid last-minute panic. This leaves more time before an exam to jump into revision and practice exams.
Two weeks before
This is usually the time when you will receive notification of the outcomes and content that will be assessed, allowing you to tailor your focus to the relevant content.
To recall information in an assessment quickly, we want to be using active recall when studying. We’ve got 3 R’s to perfect this technique: review, recall, and repeated testing.
- Review: Look over your notes and identify areas that you aren’t confident with or don’t understand. From here, you can revisit the relevant lesson and try to make sense of the information. Update your notes so everything is super clear!
- Recall: Focusing on retrieving the information from your memory, without having your notes. Try reading over a page of notes and then flipping it over and speaking out the main points and key details from the page!
- Repeated testing: Challenging your brain to retrieve information and be able to present it. The best way to do this is practice questions! They will help you understand your knowledge gaps, practice writing well-structured answers and help you further retain information.
One week before
Within a week of the assessment, you should be aiming to answer all the questions without your notes beside you.
Make sure your responses get marked, either by yourself, a classmate or even better… a teacher! This is because it’s important that you can see the areas where you may lose marks, so that you don’t make these mistakes in the assessment (where it counts!)
Read over your notes one last time and focus on any areas where you aren’t as confident. But the most important thing the night before an assessment is getting a good night's sleep—if you are tired during an assessment, your active recall won’t be on point!
2. Take great notes
Organising your notes based on syllabus dot points is a great place to start. Then, when you receive an assessment notification with the dot points to be assessed, you know exactly which pages you need to revise! Atomi can also be super helpful for this, as the syllabus dot points are displayed for each lesson.
In terms of your note-taking technique, it depends entirely on how you learn best. Your notes should help YOU understand content later in the year, so make sure you format everything in a way that you find engaging–this could be using highlighters or images, making acronyms, or just using dot points.
A great note-taking technique is Cornell Notes. In short, it involves splitting a page in half and writing out detailed information on the right-hand side of the page to break down notes into smaller, more manageable chunks. You can find out more details in this video, and download the template here.
3. Manage your time
Effective time management is essential when studying to stay organised and make the most of your time. Let’s go over some strategies that you can use:
- Creating a study schedule. Make sure it’s realistic and includes breaks—they’re essential to help prevent burnout and to allow your brain to rest and recharge.
- Prioritise tasks. Identify the most important tasks and work on them first. This will help you stay focused and ensure that you make progress towards your goals.
- Separate rest time and study time. Eliminate distractions whilst you study so that you can completely focus on your task. When you have finished, you can reward yourself. TikTok is tempting but a walk outside is even better for your wellbeing.
If you struggle to set up a schedule by yourself, try the Pomodoro Planner! It’s a study template that helps you list your tasks, prioritise them, and know when it’s time for a break.
Or you might prefer the Time Boxing planner, which helps you schedule tasks hour-by-hour during the day. If you need extra information on how to use these planners, check out this video which explains them in more depth.
Try ending the day with your favourite, or best, subject so that you are excited to continue studying and end your day with a big boost!
4. Utilise Atomi for revision
The Atomi platform has some fantastic tools to help you succeed this year:
As you complete quizzes in Atomi, we collate that data and give you a strength score. This score is based on how well you have done, and also how long it has been since you have looked at the content, which means that it will decrease over time if you don’t review the material again.
When this strength score starts to decrease, we provide you with personalised revision reminders at the top of your course page, letting you know where you may need to spend some extra effort so you don’t fall behind!
Exam skills are a unique set of skills and the more practice quizzes you complete over time, the more normalised the habit of unpacking the question becomes, and the more comfortable you will be with that process in the exam setting.
Customisable Revision Sessions
You can choose your subject and then set parameters around:
- How long you want the revision to be,
- What types of questions you want to focus on, and
- Whether you want a revision session that focuses on a specific section or section of the subject, or something that covers the whole subject.
This means no matter how much time you have you can make sure your revision is as beneficial as possible. Get started with Atomi today–it’s free to try!
We know the next few months might seem scary but if you take the time now to set yourself up for success, your results should reflect your hard work - good luck, you’re going to smash it! 🚀