There is less than 50 days until most students start their final exams, so it is the prime time to be revising unit 3 and start preparing for exams! Spending just one day studying each subject or studying the night before an exam will not help you get the best marks possible. Instead, you should try to focus on study techniques that utilise spaced, repetitive active recall.

Building and strengthening pathways in your brain is the most reliable way to be able to summon the information you need in the exam. Your brain changes structurally and functionally when you learn new information and using this to your advantage will help you to remember those English quotes, language examples and how to solve those Methods problems.  When recalling information off the top of your head, as you will in the exam, you help to strengthen the associated pathways in your brain that help you to do this.

Doing a little active recall each day for concepts or quotes will help to strengthen these pathways initially. Active recall involves retrieving information from memory without prompts such as your notes or the answer sheet. You can then move to repeating this every few days and then once a week when the recall of the information is rapid and accurate. Think about the first time you learnt how to type on a keyboard. At the start, you only used two fingers and had to look at the keys and now you probably can do it without looking and use multiple fingers to type without thinking.

When you cram the night before or only study one day per subject these neural pathways do not have the proper time to form and have not been used enough to be efficient. This is why doing a few subjects a day and doing a little bit of everything is a more efficient way to study. The more you repeat the task or concept the stronger it will be within your brain and the more readily available it is when you need it in the exam!

It is also important to consider that your brain likes to get rid of connections that you don’t use! Why can’t you remember what you ate for breakfast yesterday or how to solve quadratic equations? It is probably because you did not think about it again or use the information. If information goes unused in your brain it disappears into the abyss most likely to never be seen again. This is also why you probably have forgotten aspects of unit 3.

Your brain utilises the “USE IT OR LOSE IT” approach when it comes to remembering information. Now is the time to go back to unit 3 and start to relearn what you have forgotten and start studying in a way that will maximise your neural pathways. Don’t forget to revise unit 4 while you are there too!


Student Coach – Megan Ross


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