I’m not an expert at giving people advice on how to study or do well… But I believe that the two most important ingredients needed for the pass-my-exams recipe should be interest and actual study…
Notice I didn’t say Like.. Interest and like are different to me. You can like something but you won’t be interested in it… Just like you can like a guy but you don’t want a relationship.. Some people are interested in things they don’t like either, that’s why some people study “professional” courses and do well just because dad said to. So you don’t have to like the subject or course you’re about to study. Just make up your mind that you want to do well in it. Be interested in it…
The second one is actually as important (I won’t say more important because interest actually fuels the studying). Studying is simply going through what you’ve been taught over and over and over again till you know enough to reproduce (for the most part) exactly what has been taught. And if you don’t understand it or know it, you’d resort to cramming.
Cramming like a quick fix. It doesn’t always work especially if you’re not yet used to it. And one word or line missed could make entire write up look stupid but cram anyways. Some lecturers won’t mark your work if you don’t give them what they gave you. Another downside to cramming is that most times you don’t learn what you cram. For me, cram and memorize aren’t exactly the same but that’s gist for another day. I strongly believe that even if you have to cram, understanding the concept really helps you so that you’ll know it and it’ll be easy to write what you’ve crammed.
Now, on how to study. You have to find out what works for you. You do that by trying some options. For me, I love my comfort so if I’ll read at night, it must be in room on my bed or on a chair depending on the course. I never went for night class that was beneficial for me except when I went to copy a continuous assessment (CA) booklet.
The timing of reading too is important. I found out that early mornings and cool evenings were the times I understood better. It didn’t mean I whiled away the rest of the time, no. I’d read new concepts early in the morning or in the evenings and solve past questions in the afternoon. Sometimes when I couldn’t wake up early enough, I’d use whatever time I had to study.
In studying, apart from knowing how to read, what to read is extremely important. If you’re going for an exam, it’s good to ask questions.. Ask your predecessors (especially if it’s the same lecturers handling the course).. But if they don’t give you enough information, it might be wise to stick to the scope of what the lecturer has taught.. Or simply put, just read your note or materials.. (I’m talking about during exams or for exams).. The only time you should read extra is if you were given an assignment or if the lecturer is known to ask a little outside the scope. But make sure you’re well acquainted with what has already been taught before looking for extra materials to read..
Also, the use of past questions cannot be over emphasized. To me, past questions are a guide so you’ll know how ready you are for the exam. It’s not only about the lecturer repeating questions so don’t get your hopes too high in that regard. If the lecturer does, fine.. If not fine… Get your hands on as many past questions as you can and use when you’re tired of assimilating… You can also discuss them with friends, it’ll help you remember.
Finally, to be completely honest with you, studying for your exams should actually start from Day One. Attend your lectures regularly, go for practicals and field work (if any), do your assignments. Read what you’re taught on daily basis so that during exams they won’t look like Greek and Latin to you. If you have CA’s, solve them yourself. They actually help you learn no matter how ridiculously big they are.
Also, your attitude is everything. If you think you’d fail, whole fibre of your being will work towards it and you’ll fail. You don’t even need the village people or anyone sinister to victimize you self, just you and your attitude towards your studies is enough. In the same vein, if you think you’d succeed, you will. No weapon formed against you can succeed in that regard. If you’re a believer, know that you’re a success already. And know that working hard, studying, taking your academics seriously shows you believe you’re a success. And you will succeed..
Remember , don’t negate all your hard work by speaking words of death over your life or academics. Don’t try it. Don’t join people in saying that a course is difficult or that you’ll fail… Don’t do that because words are powerful.. No matter what your lecturer has said about a course just know that once it’s man made, it can’t be that hard to grasp.. All you need to do is study it, that’s all.